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ROLAND YORK E: 



Mrs, Henry Wood 



ROLAND YORKE 



ROLAND YORKE 

A SEQUEL TO 
-THE CHANNINGS" 



BY 

MRS. HENRY WOOD 

AUTHOR OF 
'EAST LYNNE," "THE CHANNINGS," "JOHNNY LUDLOW," ETC. 



OXE HUNDRED AXD SEVENTIETH THOUSAND 



SonDon 

MACMILLAN AND CO., Limited 

NEW YORK : THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 

1904 

All rights rcserzed 



rnlNTED BY 

WILLIAM CLOWKS AND SONS, LIMITED, 

LONDON AND BECCLES. 



CONTENTS. 



^prologue. 

CHAPTER I'ACE 

I. In the Moonlight ... ... ••• ■• i 

II. Up to the Monday Evening ... .. n 

III. Before the Coroner ... ... ... 21 

IV. Going Home with the News .. ... 35 
V, Mr. Butterby in Private Life ... ... . 44 

VI. Godfrey Pitman ... ... ... ... 55 



PART THE SECOND, 
^he §torn. 

I. In the Office ... ... ... .. ... 67 

II. Arriving from Port Natal ... ... 78 

III, Unexpected Meetings ... ... ... ... SS 

IV. Going into Society ... ... ... ... 104 

V. Day-dreams ... .. .. ... 119 

VI. Commotion ... ... ... ... . . 132 

VII. Taking the Place of Jelf ... ... ... 143 

VIII. Gerald Yorke in a Dilemma ... ... 156 



CONTENTS. 

CHAI'TER PAGE 

IX. Visitors FOR Mrs. Jones ... ... ... 167 

X. Wl.NNY ... ... ■•■ ■•• ■•• '74 

XI. At Fault ... ... ••■ •■ '^4 

XII. Mr. Brown at Home ... ... • i97 

XIII. A Fountain Shivered ... ... .-. 203 

XIV. Grand Reviews ... ... ... ■•. 217 

XV. Roland Yorke's Shoulder to the Wheel ... 225 

XVI. A Little more Light ... ... ... 240 

XVII. Laid with his Forefathers ... ... ... 250 

XVin. As Iron into the Soul ... ... ... 260 



PART THE THIRD. 

I. During the Autumn ... ... ... ... 269 

II. Arriving at Euston Square ... 2S0 

III. A Private Interview .. ... 291 

IV. Disappeared ... ... ... ... 304 

V. Restless Wanderings ... ... ... 312 

VI. A New Idea ... ... ... 323 

VII. Mr. Galloway Invaded ... . . ... 336 

VIII. Past and Present ... ... ... 346 

IX. A Startling Avowal ... ... ... ... 359 

X. A Telegram to IIelstonleigh ... ... 365 

XI. Life's Sands running on ... .. .. 373 

XII. Gerald Yorke at a Shooting Party ... 3S4 

XIII. In Custody ... ... ... ... ... 392 

XIV. Between Bede and his Clerk ... ... 400 

XV. Nearer and Nearer ... ... ... ... 409 



CONTENTS. vii 

CHATTER FAGB 

XVI. Godfrey Pitman's Tale ... .., ... 419 

XVII. A Telegram for Roland Yorke ... ... 427 

XVIII. Roland in Mourning ... ... ... ... 439 

XrX. Dreams Realized ... ... ... .. 44.5 

XX. Conclusion ... ... ... ... ... 455 



"And Deering's woods are fresh and fair, 
And with joy that is almost pain 
My heart goes back to wander there, 
And an:ong the dreams of the days that were 
I find my lost youth again. 
And the strange and beautiful song, 
The groves are repeating it still : 
' A boy's will is the wind's will, 
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts.* " 

Longfellow. 



OLAND YORKE 



CHAPTER I. 

IN THE MOONLIGHT, 

The scene of this Prologue to the story about to be written 
was a certain cathedral town, of which most of you have heard 
before, and the time close upon midnight. 

It was a warm night at the beginning of March. The air 
was calm and still ; the moon was shedding her pure light with 
unusual brilliancy on the city, lying directly beneath her beams. 
On the pinnacles of the time-honoured cathedral; the church- 
spire, whose tapering height has made itself a name ; the 
clustering roofs of houses ; the trees of what people are pleased 
to call the Park ; the river, silently winding its course along 
beneath the city walls ; and on the white pavement of its 
streets : all were steeped in the soft and beautiful light of the 
Queen of Night. 

Surely at that late hour people ought to have been asleep in 
their beds, and the town hushed to silence ! Not so. A vast 
number of men — and women too, for the matter of that — were 
awake and abroad. At least, it looked a goodly number, steal- 
ing quietly in one direction along the principal street. A few 
persons, comparatively speaking, assembled together by day- 
light, will look a crowd at night. They went along for the 
most part in silence, one group glancing round at another, and 
being glanced at, in return : whether drawn out by curiosity, 
by sympathy, by example, all seemed very much as if they 
were Jialf ashamed to be seen there. 

Straight through the town, past the new law courts, past 

Roland Vorke. I 



2 ROLAND YORKE. 

the squares and the flourishing houses built in more recent 
yeart, past the pavements and the worn highway, telling of a 
city's bustle, into the open country, to where a churchyard 
flanks a by-road. A rural, not much frequented churchyard, 
dotted with old graves, its small, grey church standing in the 
middle. People were not buried there now. On one side of 
the churchyard, open to the road, the boundary hedge had 
disappeared, partly through neglect. The entrance was on the 
other side, facing the city ; and ofwhat use restoring the hedge, 
destroyed gradually and in process of time by boys and girls at 
play? So, at least, argued the authorities— when they argued 
about it at all. 

People were not buried in it now : and yet a grave was 
being dug there. In the remotest corner of this open side of 
the churchyard, so close to the consecrated ground that you 
could scarcely tell whether they were on it or off it, two men with 
torches were working at the almost completed, shallow, hastily- 
made grave. A pathway, made perhaps more by custom than 
of purpose, led right over it into the churchyard — if any careless 
person chose to enter it in so unorthodox a manner — and the 
ordinary by-road, wide enough to admit carts and other vehicles, 
crossed it at the exact spot where the grave was being dug. A 
spectator might have said that the grave's destined occupant 
was to lie in a cross-road. 

Up to tb.is spot came the groups, winding round the front 
hedge silently, save from the inevitable hum which attends upon 
numbers, the sound of their footsteps grating and tramping rising 
on the still air. That there was some kind of reverence attached 
to the feeling in general, was proved by the absence of all joking 
and light conversation ; it may almost be said by the absence of 
conversation altogether, for what little they said was spoken 
in whispers. The open space beyond the grave was a sort 
of common, stretching out into the country, so that there was 
room and to spare for these people to congregate around, with- 
out pressing inconveniently on the sides of the shallow grave. 
Not but that every soul went close to give a look into it, taking 
a longer or shorter time to gaze as curiosity was slowly or 
quickly satisfied. 

The men threw out the last spadeful, patted the sides well, 
and ascended to the level of the earth. Not a minute too soon. 
As they stamped their feet, as men who have been for some 
time in a cramped position, and put their tools away, the clock 



IN THE MOONLIGHT. 3 

of the old grey church struck twelve. It was a loud striker at 
all times ; it sounded strangely so in the stillness of the night, 
and a movement ran through the startled spectators. 

With the first stroke of the clock there came up a wayfarer. 
Some traveller who had missed his train at Bromsgrove, and 
had to walk the distance. He advanced with a jaunty though 
somewhat tired step along the highway, and did not discern the 
crowd until close upon them, for the road wound just there. 
To say that he was astonished would be saying little. He stood 
still, and stared, and rubbed his eyes, almost questioning whether 
the unusual scene could be reality. 

"What on earth's the matter?" demanded he of some one 
near him. " What does it all mean ? " 

The man addressed turned at the question, and recognized 
the speaker for Mr. Richard Jones, an inhabitant of the town. 
At least he was almost sure it was he, but he knew him by 
sight and only slightly. If it was Mr. Jones, why this same 
crowd and commotion had to do with him, in one sen e of the 
word. Its cause had a great deal to do with his horn . 

"Can't you answer a body?" continued Mr. Jone :, finding 
he received no reply. 

" Hush ! " breathed the other man. " Look there, ' 

Along the middle of the turnpike-road, on their way from 
the city, came eight men with measured and even tread, bear- 
ing a cofiin on their shoulders. It was covered with what 
looked like a black cloth shawl, whose woollen fringe was 
clearly discernible in the moonlight. Mr. Jones had halted at 
the turning up to the churchyard, where he first saw the 
assembled people; consequently the men bearing the cofiin, 
whose heavy tread and otherwise silent presence seemed to 
produce a sort of unpleasant thrill, passed round by Mr. Jones, 
almost touching him. 

" What is it ? " he repeated in a few seconds, eager to be 
enlightened. 

" Don't you see what it is ? — a coffin. It's going to be buried 
in that cross grave up yonder." 

" But who is in the cofiin ? " 

" A gentleman who died by his own hand. The jury brought 
it in self-murder, and so he's to be put away without burial 
service." 

" Lawk a mercy ! " exclaimed Mr. Jones, who, though a light, 
shallow, unstable man, given to impromptu excursions from his 



4 ROLAND YORKE. 

home and wife, and to spend too much money on them, was 
not on the whole bad-hearted. " Poor gentleman ! Who 
was it ? " 

" One of them law men in wigs that come in to the 'sizes," 
Mr. Jones might have asked more, but for two reasons. The 
first was, that his neighbour moved away in the wake of those 
\vho were beginning to press forward to see as much as could 
be seen of the closing ceremony; the next was, that in a 
young woman who just then walked past him, he recognized 
his wife's sister. Again Mr. Jones rubbed his eyes, mentally 
questioning whether this second vision could be real. For 
she, Miss Rye, was a steady, good, superior young woman, not 
at all likely to come out of her home at midnight after a sight 
of any sort, whether it might be a burying or a wedding. Mr. 
Jones really doubted whether his sight and the moonlight had 
not played him false. The shortest way to solve this doubt 
would have been to accost the young woman, but while he had 
been wondering and hesitating, she disappeared. In truth it 
was Miss Rye, and she had followed the coffin from whence 
it was brought as a great many more had followed it. Not 
mixing with them; walking apart and alone, close to the houses, 
in the deep shade cast by their walls. She was a comely young 
woman of about seven-and-twenty, tall and fair, with steady 
blue eyes, good features, and a sensible countenance. In deep 
mourning for her mother, she wore on this night a black 
merino dress, soft and fine, and a black shawl trimmed with 
crape, held closely round her. But she had disappeared ; and 
amidst so many Mr. Jones thought it would be useless to look 
for her. 

A certain official personage or two, perhaps deputies from 
the coroner, or from the parish, or from the undertaker furnish- 
ing the coffin and the bearers — who can tell ? — whose mission 
it was to see the appointed proceedings carried out, cleared by 
their hands and gestures a space round the grave. The people 
fell back obediently. They pressed and elbowed each other 
no doubt, and grumbled at others crushing them ; but they 
kept themselves back in their places. A small knot, gentlemen 
evidently, and probably friends of the deceased, were allowed 
to approach the grave. The grave-diggers stood near, holding 
the torches. But for those flaring torches, the crowd would 
have seen better : they saw well enough, however, in the bright 
moonlight. 



IN THE MOONLIGHT. 5 

In the churchyard, having taken up his station behind an 
upright tombstone, where tombstones were numerous, stood an 
officer connected with the police. He was in plain clothes — • 
in fact, no one remembered to have seen him in other ones — 
and had come out to-night not officially but to gratify himself 
personally. Ensconced behind the stone, away from every one, 
he could look on at leisure and take his own observations, not 
only of the ceremony about to be performed, but of those whtf 
were attending it. He was a spare, middle-sized man, with a 
pale face, deeply sunk green eyes, that had a habit of looking 
steadily at people, and a small, sharp, turned-up nose. Silent 
by nature and by habit, he imparted the idea of possessing a 
great amount of keenness as a detector of crime : in his own 
opinion he had not in that respect an equal. No one could 
discern him, and he did not intend that they should. 

Amidst a dead silence, disturbed only by the creaking of 
the cords, amidst a shiver of sympathy, of pity, of awful 
thoughts from a great many of the spectators, the black cover- 
ing was throw aside and the coffin was lowered. There was 
a general lifting of hats ; a pause ; and then a rush. One in 
the front rank — a fat woman, who had fought for her place — 
stepped forward in her curiosity to take a last look into the 
grave ; another followed her ; the movement was contagious, 
and a commotion ensued. Upon which the men holding the 
torches swept them round ; it threw out the flame rather 
dangerously, and the rushers drew back again with an excla- 
mation. Not quite all. A few, more adventurous than the 
rest, slipped round to the safer side, and were in time to read 
the inscription on the lid : 

^'JOHN OLLIVERA. 

Aged 28." 

Short enough, and simple enough, for the sad death. Only 
a moment after the cords were drawn away did it remain 
visible ; for the grave-diggers, flinging their torches aside, 
threw in the earth, spadeful upon spadeful, and covered it up 
out of sight. 

The shallow grave was soon filled in ; the grave-diggers 
flattened it down with spades and feet : no ceremony accorded, 
you see; to such an end as this poor man had made. Before 
it was quite accomplished, those officially connected with the 
burial, or with the buried, left the ground and departed. Not 



6 ROLAND YORKE. 

so the mob : they stayed to see the last ; and would have 
stayed had it been until the next morning. And they talked 
freely now, one with another, but were orderly and subdued 
still. 

Mr. Jones remained. He had not mixed with the people, 
but stood apart in the churchyard, under the shadow of the 
great yew-tree. Soon he began to move away, and came 
unexpectedly upon the detective standing yet behind the 
gravestone. Mr. Jones halted in surprise. 

" Halloa ! " cried he. " Mr. Butterby ! " 

" Just look at the idiots ! " rejoined Mr. Butterby, with 
marked composure, as if he had seen Richard Jones from the 
first, and expected the salutation. " So you are back ! " he 
added, turning his head sharply on the traveller. 

" I come in from Bromsgrove on my legs , missed the last 
train there," said Mr. Jones, rather addicted to a free-and-easy 
sort of grammar in private life : as indeed was the renowned 
gentleman he spoke to. " When I got past the last turning and 
saw these here folks, I thought the world must be gone mad." 

" Did you come back on account of it ? " asked Mr. But- 
terby. " Did they write for you ? " 

" On account of what ? As to writing for me, they'd be 
clever to do that, seeing I left 'em no address to write to. 
I have been going about from place to place ; to-day there, 
to-morrow yonder." 

" On account of //la/" answered the detective, nodding his 
head in the direction of the grave, to which the men were 
then giving the finishing strokes and treads. 

To Mr. Jones's ear there was something so obscure in the 
words that he only stared at the speaker, almost wondering 
whether the grave officer had condescended to a joke. 

" I don't understand you, sir." 

Mr. Butterby saw at once how the matter stood : Dicky 
Jones — the familiar title mostly accorded him in the city — 
was ignorant of recent events. 

" The poor unfortunate man just put in there, Jones," — 
with another nod to the grave — "was Mr. Ollivera, the counsel." 

" Mr. Ollivera ! " exclaimed the startled Jones. 

" And he took his life away at your house." 

" Lawk a mercy ! " cried Mr. Jones, repeating his favourite 
expression, one he was given to when overwhelmed with 
surprise. " What ever did he do it for ? " 



IN THE MOONLIGHT. 7 

"Ah, that's just what we can't tell. Perhaps he didn't 
know himself." 

" How was it, sir ? Poison ? " 

" Shot himself with his own pistol," briefly responded the 
officer. 

" And did it intentionally ? " 

" Intentionally, of course, or he wouldn't have been put 
here to-night. They couldn't have buried a dog with much 
less ceremony." 

" Well, I never knew anything like this," cried Mr. Jones, 
scarcely taking in the news yet. " When I went away Mr. 

Ollivera hadn't arrived ; he was expected ; and my wife 

Halloa ! " 

The exclamation was caused by a fresh surprise, great as 
any the speaker had met with yet. Mr. Butterby, his keen 
eyes strained forward from their depths, touched him on the 
arm with authority to enjoin silence. 

The young woman — it would be no offence against taste to 
call her a lady, with her good looks, her quiet manners, her 
usually calm demeanour — whom Mr. Jones had recognized as 
his wife's sister, had come forward to the grave. Kneeling 
down, she bent her face in her hands, perhaps praying ; then 
lifted it, rose, and seemed about to address the crowd. Her 
hands were clasped and raised before her ; her bonnet had 
fallen back from her face and her bright flaxen hair. 

" It is Alletha Rye, isn't it, sir ? " he cried dubiously. 

" Hold your noise ! " said Mr. Butterby. 

" I think it would be wicked to let you disperse this night 
with a false belief on your minds," began Miss Rye, her clear 
voice sounding loud and distinct in the hushed silence. 
" Wicked in the sight of God ; unkind and unjust to the 
dead. Listen to my words, please, all you who hear me. I 
believe that a terrible injury and wrong has been cast upon 
Mr. OUivera's memory ; I solemnly believe that he did not die 
by his own hand. Heaven hears me assert it." 

The solemn tone, the strange words, the fair appearance of 
the young woman, with her good and refined face, deathly 
pale now, and the moonlight playing on her light hair, awed 
the listeners into something like statues. The silence con- 
tinued 'unbroken until Miss Rye moved away, which she did 
at once and with a rather quick step towards the road, settling 
her bonnet as she went, drawing her shawl round her. Even 



S ROLAND YORKE. 

Mr. Jones made neither sound nor movement until she had 
disappeared, so absolute was his astonishment. 

" Was there ever heard the like of that?" he exclaimed, when 
he at length drew breath. " Do you think she's off her head, 
sir ? " 

He received no answer, and turned to look at Mr. Butterby. 
That gentleman had his note-book out, and was pencilling 
something in it by moonlight. 

" I never saw such a start as this— take it for all in all," con- 
tinued Mr. Jones to himself and the air, thus thrown upon his 
own companionship. 

" And I wouldn't swear that you've seen the last of it," 
remarked Mr. Butterby, closing his note-case with a click. 

" Well, sir, good night to you," concluded Mr. Jones. " I 
must make my way home before the house is locked up, or I 
■ shall get a wigging from my wife. Sure to get that in any 
case, now this has happened," he continued ruefully. " She'll 
say I'm always away when I'm wanted at home in par- 
ticular." 

He went lightly enough over the graves to the opposite and 
more frequented side of the churchyard, thus avoiding the 
assemblage ; and took his departure. There being nothing 
more to see, the people began to take theirs. Having gazed 
their fjl at the grave — just as if the silent, undemonstrative 
earth could give them back a response — they slowly made 
their way down the path to the high-road, and turned towards 
the city, one group after another. 

By one o'clock the last straggler had gone, and Mr. Butterby 
came forth from his post behind the gravestone. He had his 
reasons, perhaps, for remaining behind the rest, and for wishing 
to walk home alone. 

However that might be, he gave them a good margin of 
distance, for it was ten-minutes past one when he turned out 
of the churchyard. He had just reached the houses, when he 
saw before him a small knot of people emerging from a side- 
turning, as if they had not taken the direct route in coming 
from the heart of the city. Mr. Butterby recognized one or 
two of them, and turned into a friendly doorway until they had 
passed. 

Allowing them to get well on ahead, he turned and followed 
in their wake. That they were on their way to the grave, 
appeared evident : and the acute officer wondered why. A 



IN THE MOONLIGHT. 9 

thought crossed him that possibly they might be about to take 
up what had been laid there. 

He went into the churchyard by the front gate, and made 
his way cautiously across it, keeping under the shadow of the 
grey church walls. Thence, stooping as he crossed the open 
ground, and dodging behind first one grave then another, l,e 
took up his former position against the stone. They were at 
the grave now, and he began to deliberate whether, if his 
thought should prove correct, he should or should not officially 
interrupt proceedings. Peering cautiously over the stone, Mr. 
Butterby looked out. And what he saw struck him with a 
surprise equal to any recently exhibited by Mr. Jones : he, the 
experienced official, who knew the world so thoroughly as to 
be surprised at little or nothing. 

Standing at the head of the grave was a clergyman in his 
surplice and hood. Four men were grouped around him, one 
of whom held a lantern so that its light fell upon the clergy- 
man's book. He was beginning to read the burial service. 
They stood with bowed heads, their hats off. The night had 
grown cold, but Mr. Butterby removed his. 

" I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord : he that 
believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live : and 
whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." 

The solemn words, doubly solemn at that time and place, 
came distinctly to the official ears. Perhaps in all the times 
he had heard them during his life — many and many that it 
had been — they had never so impressed him. But habit is 
strong ; and Mr. Butterby found himself taking observations 
ere the psalm had well commenced, even while he was 
noticing how heartily the alternate verses were given by the 
spectators. 

Three of them around the grave he recognized ; the other 
and the clergyman he did not. Of those three, one was a 
tall, fine man of forty years, Kene, the barrister ; the next 
w'as a cousin of the deceased, Frank Greatorex, whom Mr. 
Butterby only knew by seeing him in the inquest-room, where 
he had tendered some slight evidence ; the third was a gentle- 
man of the city. Neither the clergyman nor the one v/ho 
held the light did Mr. Butterby remember to have seen before. 
The elder cousin of the deceased was not present, though Mr, 



lo ROLAND YORKE. 

Butterby looked for him ; he had been tlie principal witness 
at the inquest — Mr. Bode Greatorex. 

The officer could but notice also how singularly solemn, 
slow, and impressive was the clergyman's voice as he read 
those portions of the service that relate more particularly to 
the deceased and tlie faith in which he has died. "In sure 
and certain hope of the Resurrection to eternal life." He 
almost paused between each word, as if he would impress on 
his hearers that it was his own belief the deceased had so died. 
And again, " Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord." 
And towards the end, in the collect, in the beseeching prayer 
that when we depart this life we may rest in Christ, " as our 
hope is this our brother doth." It was not to be mistaken 
that the clergyman, at least, held firm faith in the absence 
of guilt in the deceased as regarded his own death. As indeed 
the reading of the service over him proved. 

With the Amen of the concluding benediction, there ensued 
a silence ; every head was bowed in prayer. The clergyman 
was the first to look up. He waited until the rest did so. 

" Allow me to say a word ere we depart," he began then, 
in low tones ; which nevertheless quick-eared Mr. Butterby 
distinctly caught. " From the bottom of my heart, I believe 
a foul murder to have been committed on my good and dear 
brother. It shall be the business of my life to endeavour to 
bring it to light, to clear his name from the cruel stain resting 
upon it ; and my whole time, apart from what must be spent 
in my appointed duties, shall be devoted to this end. So help 
me. Heaven ! " 

" Amen ! " responded the young man who stood by Mr. 
Kene. 

" So ! he's the deceased man's brother," was Mr. Butterby's 
comment on the clergyman, as he saw him take off his surplice 
and roll it up. 

Extinguishing the light in the lantern, they silently took 
their departure. Mr, Butterby watched them away, and then 
finally took his, his mind in full w'ork. 

" Just the same thing that the girl, Alletha Rye, said ! 
It's odd. I didn't see any doubt about the business ; in spite 
of what Kene said at the inquest; neither did the coroner; 
and I'm sure the jury didn't. Dicky Jones was right, though. 
Take it for all in all, it's the queerest start we've had in this 
town for many a day." 



( II ? 

CHAPTER II. 

UP TO THE MONDAY EVENING. 

On the Saturday before the events recorded in the last chapter, 
the cathedral city had been the scene of unusual bustle. The 
judges came in from Oxford to hold the Spring Assize, bringing 
in their wake the customary multitude of followers : attendants, 
officers, barristers, and others. Some of the witnesses in the 
different cases to be tried, civil and criminal, also came in that 
day, to remain until they should be wanted the following 
week : so that the town was full. 

Amidst the barristers who arrived was Mr. Oil i vera. He 
was a young man ; and it was only the second time he had 
come on circuit. After leaving college he had travelled a good 
deal, and also sojourned in different foreign countries, acquiring 
legal experience, and did not take up his profession at home 
as early as some do. A fresh-coloured, pleasing, bright-look- 
ing man Avas he, his curly hair of a light auburn, his eyes blue, 
his figure elastic and of middle height. All the world liked 
John Ollivera. He was essentially practical, of sound sense, 
of pure mind and habits, holding a reverence for all things 
holy; and in every respect just the last man who could have 
been suspected of a tendency to lay violent hands on himself 

He had written to secure his former lodgings at i\Ir. Jones's 
in High Street, and proceeded to them at once on arriving at 
the station. It was the third time he had lodged there. At 
the previous assizes in July he had gone there first ; and the 
whole of the month of October, during the long vacation, 
he had been there again, having, as people supposed, taken a 
liking to the town. So that this was the third time. 

He arrived between six and seven on the Saturday evening. 
Ordered tea and mutton chops, which were sent for at once, 
and then v/ent out to call upon a lady who lived within the 
precincts of the cathedral. She was a widow ; her husband, 
Colonel Joliffe, having died about a year before, leaving her 
with a slender income and three expensive daughters. During 
the colonel's lifetime they had lived in good style, about two 
miles from the town ; but a great part of his means died with 



12 ROLAND YORKE. 

him, and Mrs. Joliffe then took a small house in the city and 
had to retrench in all her ways. Which was a terrible mortifica- 
tion to the young ladies. 

To this lady's house Mr. Ollivera made his way when his 
frugal dinner was over. He spent a couple of hours with 
them, and then returned to his rooms and got out his law 
papers, over which he remained until twelve o'clock, when he 
went to bed. He occupied the drawing-room, which was on 
the first-floor over the shop, and looked on to the street ; and 
the bedroom behind it. On the following day, Sunday, he 
attended early prayers in the cathedral at eight o'clock, staying 
to partake of the Sacrament, and also the later service at eleven, 
when the judges and corporation were present. In the after- 
noon he attended the cathedral again, going to it with the 
Miss Jolififes; dined at home at five, which was also Mrs. 
Joliffe's dinner hour, and spent the rest of the evening at her 
house. Mrs. Jones, his landlady, who had a great amount of 
shrewd observation — and a shrewd tongue too on occasions, 
as well as a sharp one — gave it as her opinion that he must be 
courting one of the Miss Joliffes. He had been with them a 
little in his few days' sojourn at the July assizes, and a great 
deal with them during his stay in October. 

On Monday morning the trials commenced, and Mr. Ollivera, 
though he had no cause on, was in court a great part of the 
day. He left in the afternoon, telling Mr. Kene that le had 
an appointment for half-past three. A disagreeable commission 
had been entrusted to him, he added, and he must keep it. 
About half-past four he appeared at his rooms ; Mrs. Jones 
met him in the hall, and spoke to him as he went upstairs. 
When his dinner was sent up at five, the maid found him 
buried in a heap of law papers. Hastily clearing a space at 
one end of the table, he told her to put the tray there. In 
less than half-an-hour the bell was rung for the things to be 
taken away, and Mr. Ollivera was then bending over his papers 
again. 

The papers no doubt related to a cause in which he was to 
appear the following day. It was a civil action, touching 
some property in which Mrs. Joliffe was remotely though not 
actively interested. The London solicitors were the good old 
firm of Greatorex and Greatorex ; Mr. Ollivera was a relative 
of the house ; nephew of old Mr. Greatorex, in fact ; and to 
him had been confided the advocacy of the cause. The name 



UP TO THE MONDAY EVENING. 13 

of the local solicitor need not be mentioned. It was not a 
very important cause : but a young barrister thinks all his 
causes important, and Mr. Ollivera was earnest and painstaking, 
sparing himself no trouble that could conduce to success. 
He had declined a proffered dinner engagement for that 
evening, but accepted an invitation for the next. So much 
was known of his movements up to the Monday night. 

On that same evening, Mr. Bede Greatorex arrived at the 
station by the six-o'clock train from London ; took a fly, and 
was driven to the Star and Garter Hotel. He was the son of 
old Mr. Greatorex, and second partner in the firm. His journey 
down had reference to the next day's action : something new 
had unexpectedly arisen ; some slight information been gained 
of a favourable nature, and Mr. Greatorex, senior, had 
despatched his son to confer with Mn Ollivera in preference 
to writing or telegraphing. Bede Greatorex, nothing loth, 
entered on his flying journey with high good-humour, intend- 
ing to be back in London by the following midday. He was 
a tall, fine-looking man, in face not unlike Mr. Ollivera, except 
that his hair and eyes were dark, and his complexion a clear, 
pale olive ; his age about thirty-four. The cousins were cordial 
friends. 

On arriving at the Star and Garter he declined refreshment 
then, having taken an early dinner before leaving town, and 
asked to be directed to Mr. OlUvera's lodgings in High Street : 
which was readily done, High Street being in a direct line 
with the hotel. Mr, Bede Greatorex gained the house, and 
found it to be one of goodly proportions, the lower part 
occupied as a hosier's shop, with plate-glass windows. Over 
the door in the middle was inscribed " Richard Jones, hosier 
and patent shirt-front maker." There was a side entrance, 
wide and rather handsome; the house altogether being a 
superior one. Ringing the side bell, he inquired of the 
servant for Mr. Ollivera, and was at once shown up to him, 

Mr, Ollivera was seated at the table, his back to the door. 
The papers he had been engaged upon were neatly stacked 
now, as if done with ; he appeared to be writing a note ; and 
a pistol lay at his elbow. All this was shown both to Mr. 
Bede Greatorex and the maid, by the bright moderator lamp, 
then lighted. 

" Well, John ! " cried the visitor, in gay, laughing tones, be- 
fore the girl could speak. " Don't be surprised at seeing me." 



14 ROLAND YORKE. 

Mr. Ollivera turned at the voice and evidently was surprised t 
surprised and pleased. 

"Why, Bede!" he cried, starting up. "I should as soon 
have expected to see a ghost." 

They shook hands heartily, and Mr. Bede Greatorex sat 
down. The maid, to save herself the trouble of a second 
journey, inquired when Mr. Ollivera would like tea ; and was 
answered that he might not want any , if he did, he'd ring : he 
mi"-ht be going out. As the servant shut the door she heard 
the visitor begin to explain his errand, and that his father had 
sent him in preference to writing. Her ears were always full 
of curiosity. 

In about an hour's time, Mr. Bede Greatorex departed. A 
young man belonging to the house, Alfred Jones, who 
happened to be passmg upstairs when Mr Greatorex was 
leaving the drawing-room, heard that gentleman make an 
appointment v/ith Mr. Ollivera for the morning. 

Mr. Bede Greatorex walked back to the hotel, ordered a 
fire in his bedroom, took a glass of brandy-and-water, for he 
felt cold, washed the dust of the journey off his face and 
hands, which he had not done before, had his coat and boots 
brushed, and went out again. It was nine o'clock then, and 
he bent his steps quickly towards the cathedral to call on 
Mrs. Joliffe, having to inquire the way. It took him througli 
High Street again, and as he passed his cousin's lodgings, the 
servant who had shown him in was standing at the front door, 
recognized him and dropped a curtsey 

In the drawing-room with Mrs. Joliffe were her three 
daughters, Louisa, Clare, and Mary; some three or four 
friends were also assembled. They were astonished to see 
ISIr. Bede Greatorex : none of them knew him well, except 
Louisa, who had paid a long visit to his father's house the 
previous year. She changed colour when he was announced : 
and it may have been that his voice took a more tender tone 
as it addressed her ; his hand lingered longer in clasping hers 
than it need have done. She was an excessively fashionable 
young lady : not very young, perhaps six or seven-and-twenty : 
and if Bede Greatorex coveted her for a wife it was to be 
hoped his pockets were well lined. He spoke just a word to 
Mrs. Joliffe of having come down on a mission to Mr. 
Ollivera ; not stating explicitly what it was ; and said he was 
going back home in the morning. 



UP TO THE MONDAY EVENING. 15 

" We are expecting Mr. Ollivera here to-night," observed 
Mrs. Joliffe. "He is late." 

"Are you?" was the reply of Mr. Greatorex. "John said 
he might be going out, I remember, but I did not know it was 
to your house. Don't make too sure of him, Mrs. Joliffe, he 
seemed idle, and complained of headache." 

"I suppose he is busy," remarked Mrs. Joliffe. "All you 
law people are busy at assize time." 

" Louisa, is it as it should be between us ? " whispered Bcde 
Greatorex, in an opportunity that occurred when they were 
alone near the piano. 

" Don't be silly, Mr. Greatorex," was the answer. 

"Silly!" 

She bent her head, not speaking. 

" What do you mean, Louisa ? Our engagement was 
entered upon deliberately : you gave me every hope. You 
cannot play with me now. Speak, Louisa." 

He had taken possession of her hand, and was keeping her 
before him ; his dark eyes, gleaming with doubt and love, 
looked straight into hers. 

" What ? " she faintly asked. " Wb.y do you question it ? " 

" Because your manner is strange : you have avoided me 
ever since I came in." 

"The surprise was so great." 

"Surely a pleasant surprise. I intended it to be so. Do 
3'ou suppose I should have cared to come down on this 
business to Mr. Ollivera, when writing would have answered 
every purpose ? No : I came to see you. And to learn 
why " 

" Not now. Don't you see mamma is looking at me ? " 

" And what though she is ? I should have liked to speak to 
your mother to-night, but for " 

" Not to-night. I pray you not to-night. Take another 
opportunity." 

The words reassured him. 

"Then, Louisa, it is all right between us ? " 

" Yes, yes, of course it is. You offended me, Bede, last 
January, and I — I have been vexed with you. LU write to you 
as soon 'as you get back home, and explain everything." 

He pressed her hand with a lingering touch, and then 
released it. There was nothing in the wide world so coveted 
by Bede Greatorex as that false hand of hers : as many things. 



i6 ROLAND YORKE. 

fair outside, false within, are coveted by us poor mortals, blind 
at the best. But Miss Joliffe looked half scared as she left 
him for a safer part of the room ; her eyes and manner were 
alike restless. Bede followed her, and they were talking 
together at intervals in an undertone during the rest of the 
evening. Louisa was evidently ill at case, but strove to 
conceal it. 

At a quarter to eleven Mr. Bede Greatorex took his depar- 
ture. In passing up High vStreet, his cousin's lodgings were 
on the opposite side of the way. He momentarily halted 
and stepped off the pavement as if he would have crossed 
to go in, and then hesitated, for the sitting-room was in 
darkness. 

"The light's out: he's gone to bed, I dare say," said Mr. 
Greatorex, speaking aloud. " No good disturbing him." And 
a tradesman, who happened to be fastening his side-door and 
had it open about an inch, overheard the words ; Mr. 
Greatorex having doubtless been unaware that he spoke to an 
auditor. 

Towards the top of High Street he met Kene, the barrister. 
The latter, after expressing some surprise at seeing him, and 
assuming he had come direct from Mr. Ollivera's, asked whether 
the latter was in. 

"In and in bed," replied Mr. Greatorex. 

" Indeed ! Why, it's not eleven o'clock." 

" At any rate, there's no light in his room, or I should have 
gone up. He complained of headache : perhaps he has gone 
to bed early to sleep it off." 

" I want to see him particularly," said the barrister. "Are 
you sure he is in bed ? " 

" You can go and ascertain, Kene. Ring the people of the 
house up, should they have gone to bed too. I could see no 
light anywhere." 

Mr. Kene did not care to ring people up, and decided to leave 
his business with Mr. OUivera until the morning. He had been 
dining with some fellows, he said, and had no idea how the time 
was running on. Linking his arm within that of Bede Greatorex, 
they walked together to the Star, and there parted. Mr. 
Greatorex went up at once to his chamber, stirred the fire into 
a blaze, rang for the waiter, and ordered another glass of hot 
brandy-and-water. 

"I think I must have taken cold," he observed when the 



UP TO THE MONDAY EVENING. 17 

man brought it to him. " There has been a chill upon me ever 
since I came here." 

" Nothing more likely, sir," returned the waiter. " Those 
trains are such draughty things." 

However, Mr. Greatorex hoped he should be all right in the 
morning. He gave directions to be called at a quarter to eight, 
and the night wore on. 

Some time before that hour chimed cut from the cathedral 
clock, when the morning had come, he found himself aroused 
by a knocking at his door. A waiter, speaking outside, said 
that something had happened to Mr. Ollivera. Mr. Bede 
Greatorex, thinking the words singular, and not very pleased at 
being thus summarily disturbed, possibly from dreams of Louisa 
Joliffe, called out from his downy pillow (rather crossly, it must 
be confessed) to know what had happened to Mr. Ollivera : 
and was answered that he was dead. 

Springing out of bed, and dressing himself quickly, Bede 
Greatorex went down, and found that Kene, who had brought 
the news, had gone again, leaving word that he had returned to 
High Street. Mr. Greatorex hastened to follow. 

The tale to be told was very singular, very sad, and Bede 
Greatorex could not help shivering as he heard it. His cold 
was upon him still. It appeared that nothing more had been 
seen or heard of Mr. Ollivera after Mr. Greatorex left him the 
previous evening. Mrs. Jones, the mistress of the house, had 
gone out at seven, when the shop closed, to sit by the bedside 
of a dying relative ; her sister, Miss Rye, was also out : the 
maid left in charge, the only servant the house kept, had 
taken the opportunity to spend her time in the street ; standing 
now at her own door, now at other doors, as she could get 
neighbours' servants to gossip with her. About half-past ten 
it occurred to the maid that she might as well go up and inquire 
if Mr. Ollivera wanted anything : perhaps the fact of his not 
having rung at all struck her as singular. She knew he had not 
gone out, or she must have seen him, for she had contrived to 
keep a tolerably steady look-out on the street-door, however far 
she had wandered from it. Up she went, knocked at the door, 
got no anrswer, opened it, saw that the room was in darkness, 
and regarded it as a sure proof that Mr. Ollivera had left the 
room for the night, for he never put the lamp out in any other 
case. 

"He's gone to bed early to night," thought the girl, shutting 

Roland Yorke. « 



i8 ROLAND YORKE. 

the door again. " I hope to goodness he didn't ring, and me 
not hear it. "Wouldn't Missis fly out at me ! " 

And when Mrs. Jones came in, as she did soon after the girl 
got downstairs again, and inquired after Mr. Ollivera, she was 
told that he had gone to bed. 

Now it appeared that Miss Rye sat over the sitting-room fire 
(a parlour behind the shop, underneath Mr. Ollivera's bedroom) 
for some time after the rest of the house had retired to rest. 
When at length she went to bed, she was unable to sleep. 
Towards morning she dropped into a doze, and was awakened 
(according to her own account) by a dream. A very vivid dream, 
that startled and unnerved her. She dreamt she saw Mr. 
Ollivera in his sitting-room— dead. And, as she seemed to look 
at him, a terrible amount of self-reproach, far greater than any 
she could ever experience in life, rushed over her mind, for not 
having gone in earlier to discover him. It was this feeling that 
awoke her. It had seemed that he cast it on her, that it came 
direct to her from his presence, cold and lifeless though he was. 
So real did it all appear, that for some minutes after Miss Rye 
awoke, she could not believe it to be only a dream. Turning 
to look at her watch, she saw it was half-past six, and the sun 
had risen. An early riser always, for she had to get her living 
by dressmaking, Miss Rye rose and dressed herself: but she 
could not throw off the impression upon her ; and a little before 
seven she went down and opened the door of Mr. Ollivera's 
sitting-room. Not so much to see whether it might be true or 
not, as to prove by ocular demonstration that it was not true : 
she might get over the impression then. 

But it was true. What was Miss Rye's horror and astonish- 
ment at seeing him, Mr. Ollivera, there ! At the first moment, 
she observed nothing unusual. The white blinds were down 
before the windows ; the tables, chairs, and other furniture were 
in place ; but as she stood looking in, she saw in an easy-chair 
near the table, whose back was towards her, the head of Mr. 
Ollivera. With a strange leaping of all her pulses, with a dread 
at her heart, that caused it to cease beating. Miss Rye went in 
and looked at him, and then flew out of the room, uttering 
startled cries. 

The cries aroused the house. Mrs. Jones, the young man 
xAlfred Jones, and the servant-maid came hurrying forth : the 
two former nearly dressed ; the maid had been about her work 
downstairs. Mr. Ollivera lay back in the easy-chair, cold and 



UP TO THE MONDAY EVENING. 19 

dead. The right arm hung down over the side, and immediately 
beneath it on the carpet, looking as if it had dropped from his 
hand, lay the discharged pistol. 

The servant and Alfred Jones ran different ways : the one for 
a doctor, the other to Mr. Kene the barrister, who had been 
intimate with Mr. OUivera ; Mrs. Jones, a shrewd, clever woman, 
locking the room up exactly as it was, until they should arrive. 

But now, by a singular coincidence, it happened that Mr. 
Butterby, abroad betimes, was the first to meet the servant- 
maid, and consequently, he was first on the scene. The 
doctor and Mr. Kene came next, and then Bede Greatorex. 
Such was the story as it greeted Bede's ears. 

On the table, just as both he and the servant had seen them 
the night before, were the neatly-stacked law papers. Also a 
folded legal document that had been brought from town by 
himself, Bede Greatorex. There were also pens, ink, and a 
sheet of note-paper, on which some lines were written. They 
were as follows : — 

" My dear Friend, 

" It is of no use. Nothing more can be done. 
Should I never see you again, I beg you once for all to believe 
me when I say that I have made efforts, though they have been 
ineffectual. And when 

" The pistol is ready to my hand. Good-bye." 

The first part of this letter, up to the point of the abrupt 
breaking off, was written in Mr. Ollivera's usual steady hand. 
The latter part was scrawling, trembling, and blotted ; the 
writing bearing only a faint resemblance to the rest. Acute 
iMr. Butterby remarked that it was just the kind of writing 
an agilated man might pen, who was about to commit an evil 
deed. There was no clue as to whom the note had been in- 
tended for, but it appeared to point too evidently to the inten- 
tion of self-destruction. Nevertheless, there was one at least 
who doubted. 

" Is it so, think you ? " asked Mr. Kene, in low tones, as he 
stood by the side of Bede Greatorex, who was mechanically 
turning 'over the papers on the table one by one. 

" Is it what ? " asked Bede, looking up, his tone sharp with 
pain. 

" Self-destruction. There never lived a man less likely to 
commit it than your cousin, John Ollivera." 



20 ROLAND YORKE, 

" As I should have thought," returned Mr. Greatorex. 
" But if it is not that, what else can it be ? " 

"There is one other possible solution, at least : putting any 
idea of accident aside." 

The supposition of accident had not occurred to Bede 
Greatorex. A gleam of glad surprise crossed his face. 

" Do you indeed think it could have been an accident, 
Kene ? Then " 

"No; I think it could not have been," interrupted the 
barrister. " I said, putting that idea aside : it is the most 
improbable of any. I alluded to the other alternative." 

Mr. Greatorex understood his meaning, and shrank from its 
unpleasantness. " Who would harm OUivera, Kene ? He 
had not an enemy in the world." 

" So far as we know. But I declare to you, Greatorex, I 
think it the more likely of the two." 

Bede Greatorex shook his head. The facts, so far as they 
were yet disclosed, seemed decisive and unmistakable. 

They passed into the bedroom. It was all just as the 
servant had left it the previous evening, ready for the 
occupation of Mr. Ollivera. On a small table lay his Prayer- 
book, and the pocket Bible he was wont to carry with him in 
travelling. Bede Greatorex felt a sudden faintness stealing 
over him as he looked, and leaned for a few moments against 
the wall. 

But he had no time for indulging grief. He went out, in- 
quiring for the telegraph office, and sent a message to his father 
in town with the news, softening it as well as circumstances 
permitted : as we all like to do at first when ill news has to 
be told. He simply stated that John (the familiar name Mr. 
Ollivera was known by at home) had died suddenly. The 
message brought down his brother, Frank Greatorex, some 
hours later. 

To say that the town was thrown into commotion almost 
equal to that reigning in Mrs. Jones's house, would be super- 
fluous. A young barrister, known to many of the inhabitants, 
who had come in with the judges only on Saturday ; who was 
to have led in a cause in the Nisi Prius Court on that very 
morning, Tuesday, and to be junior in another cause set down 
for Wednesday, in which Mr. Kene, the experienced and 
renowned Queen's Counsel, led, had been found dead ! And 
by such a deaih ! It took the public by storm. INIrs. Jones's 



BEFORE THE CORONER. 21 

shop was so besieged that she had to put up her shutters ; High 
Street was impassable : and all those in the remotest degree 
connected with the deceased or with the circumstances, were 
followed about and stared at as though they were wild animals. 
Five hundred conjectures were hazarded and spoken : five 
hundred tales circulated that had no foundation. Perhaps the 
better way to collect the various items together for the reader, 
will be to transcribe some of the evidence given before the 
coronen The inquest took place on the Wednesday morning, 
in the club-room of an inn near at hand. 



CHAPTER HI. 

BEFORE THE CORONER. 



The coroner and jury assembled at an unusually early hour, for 
the convenience of Mr Kene, who wished to be present. It 
had been thought that the only brother of the deceased, a 
clergyman, would come down ; but he had not arrived. After 
viewing the body, which lay still at IMrs. Jones's, the pro- 
ceedings commenced. Medical testimony was given as to the 
cause of death — a pistol-shot had penetrated the heart. The 
surgeon, Mr. Hurst, who had been called in at the first disco- 
very on Tuesday morning, stated that to the best of his belief, 
death (which must have been instantaneous) had taken place 
early the previous evening, he should say about seven or eight 
o'clock. And this view was confirmed in rather a singular 
manner. Upon examining the oil in the lamp, which Mrs. 
Jones had herself filled, it was seen that it could not have 
burnt very much more than an hour : thus leaving it to be 
inferred that the deceased had put it out before committing the 
rash deed, and that it must have been done shortly after Mr. 
Bede Greatorex left him. 

AUetha Rye was called. She spoke to the fact of finding 
Mr. Ollivera, dead ; and electrified the court, when questioned 
as to why she had gone to the sitting-room, seeing that it was 
so unusual a thing for her to do, by saying that she went in to 
see whether Mr. Ollivera was there, dead, or not dead. In the 
quietest, most composed manner possible, she related her 
singular dream, saying it had sent her to the room. 



22 ROLAND YORKE. 

" Surely," said the coroner, " you did not expect to see Mr. 
Ollivera dead ? " 

" I cannot say that I did. I went rather to convince myself 
that he was not dead," was the witness's answer. " But the 
dream had been so vivid that I could not shake it from my 
mind. It made me uneasy, although my reason did not put 
any faith in it whatever as to its truth. That is why I went to 
the room. And Mr. Ollivera lay dead in his chair, exactly as 
I had seen him in my dream." 

The coroner, a practical man, did not know what to make 
of this statement : such evidence had never been tendered him 
before, and he eyed the witness keenly. To see her standing 
there in her black robes, tall, upright, of really dignified de- 
meanour, with her fair features and good looks — but there were 
dark circles round her eyes to-day, and the soft colour had left 
her cheeks — to hear her declare this in sensible, calm accents, 
was something marvellous. 

" Were you at home on Monday night ? " asked the coroner. 
And it may as well be remarked that some of the questions 
put by him during the inquest, queries that did not appear to 
be quite in order, or have much to do with the point in ques- 
tion, had very probably their origin in the different rumours 
that had reached him, and in the doubt breathed into his ears 
by Mr. Kene. The coroner did not in the least agree with 
Mr. Kene ; rather pitied the barrister as a visionary, for allow- 
ing himself to glance at such a doubt ; but he was fond of 
diving to the bottom of things. Living in the same town, 
knowing all the jury personally, in the habit of exchanging a 
word with Mrs. Jones whenever he met her, the coroner may 
have been excused if the proceedings were slightly irregular, 
involving some gossip as well as law. 

" No," replied the witness. " Except that I ran in for a 
few minutes. I had been at work that afternoon at a neigh- 
bour's, helping her to make a gown. I went home to get a 
pattern." 

" What time was that ? " 

" I cannot be particular as to the exact time. It must have 
been nearly eight o'clock." 

" Did you see the deceased then ? " 

" No. I did not see any one except the servant. She was 
standing at the street door. When I had been upstairs to get 
what I wanted I went out again." 



BEFORE THE COROxNER. 23 

" Did you hear any noise as you passed Mr. OUivera's 
rooms ? " 

" Not any I do not know anything more of the details, sir, 
than I have told you." 

The next ^vitness called was Mr. Bede Greatorex. He gave 
his evidence clearly, but at portions of it was evidently under 
the influence of some natural emotion, which he contrived to 
suppress. A man does not like to betray this. 

" My name is Bede Greatorex. I am the son of Mr. Greatorex, 
of London, and second partner in the firm of Greatorex and 
Greatorex. The deceased, John Ollivera, was my cousin, his 
father and my mother having been brother and sister. A 
matter of business arose connected with a cause to be tried 
in the Nisi Prius Court, in which Mr. Ollivera was to 
be leading counsel, and my father despatched me down on 
Monday to communicate with him. I arrived by the six- 
o'clock train, and was with him before half-past six. We had 
a conference together; I stayed about an hour with him, and 
then went back to my hotel. I never afterwards saw him 
alive." 

" I must put a few questions to you, with your permission, 
Mr. Greatorex, for the satisfaction of the jury," observed the 
coroner. 

"Put as many as you like, sir; I will answer them to the 
best of my ability," was the reply. 

"First of all — what was the exact hour at which you reached 
Mr. OUivera's rooms ? " 

" I think it must have been about twenty-minutes past six. 
The train got in to time, six o'clock ; I took a fly to the Star 
and Garter, and then walked at once to Mr. OUivera's lodgings, 
the hotel people directing me. The whole proceeding could 
not have taken above twenty minutes." 

"And how long did you remain with him?" 

" An hour : perhaps rather more. I should think I left him 
about half-past seven. I was back at the hotel by a quarter 
to eight, having walked slowly, looking at the different features 
of the streets as I passed. I had never been in the town 
before." 

"Well, now, Mr. Greatorex, what was the manner of the 
deceased while you were with him? Did you perceive anything 
unusual ? " 

" Nothing at all. He was just as he always was, and very 



C4 ROLAND YORKE. 

glad to see me. We" — the witness paused to swallow his 
emotion — "we had ever been the best of friends and com- 
panions. I thought him a little quiet, dull. As he sat, he 
bent his forehead on his hand and complained of headache, 
saying it had been close in court that day." 

("True enough," murmured Mr. Kene.) 

" The news you brought down to him was not bad news ? " 
questioned the coroner. 

" Quite the contrary. It was good news : favourable to our 
cause." 

" Did you see him write the note found on his table, or any 
portion of it?" 

" When the servant showed me into the room, he appeared 
to be writing a note. As he sat down after shaking hands with 
me, he put the blotting-paper over what he had written. He 
did not take it off again, or v/rite at all whilst I remained." 

"Was it the same note, think you, that was afterwards 
found ? " 

" I should think it probable. I noticed that some few lines 
only were written. About" — the witness paused a moment — 
"about the same amount as the first portion of the note." 

" Did he put the blotting-paper over it to prevent your 
seeing it, do you suppose, Mr. Greatorex?" 

" I do not know. I thought he was only afraid it might get 
blotted. The ink was wet." 

"Did any one come in while you were with him?" 

" No. I wished him good night, intending to see him in the 
morning, and was shown out by some young man." 

" Do you know to whom that note was written ? " 

" 1 have not the slightest idea. Neither do I know to what 
it alludes." 

"Then— your theory, I presume, is— that he added that 
concluding line after your departure? In fact, just when he 
was on the point of committing the rash act?" 

" I do not see what else can be supposed. The pen lay 
across the words when found, as if thrown there after writing 
them, and appeared to have caused the blots." 

" Did he say anything to you about any appointment he had 
kept that afternoon ? " 

" Not anything." 

"And now about the pistol, Mr Greatorex. Did you see 
one on the table ? " 



BEFORE THE CORONER. 25 

« Yes." 

" Did it not strike you as singular that it should be there ?" 

" Not at all. Mr. OUivera never travelled anywhere without 
a pistol ; it was a fancy of his. Some years ago, when in a 
remote part of Spain, he was attacked in his chamber at 
night, robbed, and rather seriously hurt; since then he has 
when travelling taken a pistol with him. I asked him what 
brought it on the table, and he said he had been oiling the 
lock. 

" Did you know that it was loaded ? " 

" I did not. I really did not think much about it one way 
or the other. We were busy over the business on which I 
came down : and I knew as I have said, that he used to carry 
a pistol with him when travelling." 

"Then, in point of fact, Mr. Greatorex, you can throw no 
positive light on this affair for us ? " 

The witness shook his head. " I wish I could. I have told 
you all I know." 

" Do you think there can be any reasonable doubt — any 
doubt whatever — that he committed suicide ? " 

" I fear there can be none," replied Mr. Greatorex, in low 
tones, and he shivered perceptibly as he gave it. It was a 
crime Bede Greatorex had always held in shrinking, pitying 
abhorrence. 

" One question more, and then we will release you and 
thank you for the manner in which you have given your 
evidence," said the coroner. " Did you see cause to suspect 
in that last interview that his mind was otherwise than in a 
sane state ? " 

"Oh no; certainly not." 

"It was calm and clear as usual, for all you perceived?" 

" Quite so." 

"Stay. There is one other point. Was the deceased in 
any kind of embarrassment, so far as your cognizance goes, 
pecuniary, or other?" 

" I feel quite sure that he was in no pecuniary embarrassment 
whatever," returned the witness warmly, anxious to do justice 
to his cousin's memory. " As to any other kind of embarrass- 
ment, I cannot speak. I am aware of none ; and I think he 
was one of the least likely men to get into any." 

That was all. Mr. Greatorex bowed to the coroner and 
gave place to another witness. A little dark woman in black, 



26 ROLAND YORKE. 

with an old-fashioned black chip bonnet, and silver threads 
beginning to mix with her black hair ; but her eyebrows were 
very black still. Certainly no two women could present a 
greater contrast in appearance than she and Miss Rye, although 
they were sisters. 

" Your name is Julia Jones," began the coroner's man, who 
knew Mrs. Jones intimately in private life. 

"Yes, it is Julia Jones," emphatically replied the lady, tartly, 
and with an accent on the "Jones," as if the name grated upon 
her. And Mrs. Jones was sworn. 

After some preliminary evidence, touching Mr. Ollivera's 
previous visits to her, and the length of time he had stayed, 
which she entered upon of her own accord, Mrs. Jones was 
asked what she knew of the calamity. How it was first brought 
to her knowledge. 

'• The first I heard of it was through my sister, AUetha Rye, 
shrieking out from the first-floor landing below, a little before 
seven o'clock on Tuesday morning," responded Mrs. Jones, in 
the same tart tone ; which was, in fact, habitual to her. " I 
was in my bedroom, the front room on the second floor, nearly 
dressed, and out I flew, thinking she must be on fire. She said 
something about Mr. Ollivera, and I ran down, and saw him 
lying in the chair. Jones's nephew, in his waistcoat and shirt- 
sleeves, got into the room just as I did." 

" When did you last see the deceased alive, Mrs. Jones ? " was 
the next question, after the witness had described the appear- 
ance of tlie room, the pistol on the carpet, the blotted note on 
the table, the quantity of oil in the lamp, and so forth, 

" When did I see him last ? Why, on the Monday afternoon, 
when he came in from court," responded Mrs. Jones. " I was 
crossing the hall at the foot of the stairs, between the parlour 
and the shop, as he came in. He looked tired, and I said so ; 
and he answered that he had been about all day, in court and 
elsewhere, and was tired. That's when I saw him last : never 
after, till I saw him in his chair, dead." 

"You heard nothing of his movements, that evening?" 

" I wasn't likely to hear them, seeing I went out as soon as 
the shop was shut. Before it, in fact, for I left Jones's nephew 
to put up the shutters. Old Jenkins is dying, as all the parish 
knows, and I went to sit with him and take him some beef- 
tea. Jones's nephew went out too, to his debating club, as 
he calls it. And precious debating it must be," continued 



BEFORE THE CORONER. 27 

Mrs. Jones, with more tartness, "if tlie debaters are all as 
green and soft as he ! Alletha Rye was at work at Mrs. 
Wilson's : and so, as ill-luck had it, all the house was out." 

" Except your servant, Susan Marks," observed one of the 
jury. " She was left at home to keep house, we hear." 

" And in a very pretty manner she kept it ! " retorted Mrs, 
Jones ; upon which Susan Marks, at the back, gave a groan, 
and burst into fresh tears. " Up the street here, down the 
street there, over the way at the doors yonder, staring, and 
gossiping — that's how she kept it. And on an assize night, of 
all nights in the year, to be airing her cap in the street, when 
barristers and other loose characters are about ! " 

The compliment paid to the barristers raised a laugh, in 
spite of the sad inquiry the court had met upon. ]\Irs. Jones's 
epithet sounded, however, worse to others than it did to 
herself. 

"And she could tell ine, when I got in just before eleven, 
that Mr. OUivera had gone to bed!" resumed that lady with 
intense aggravation : " which, of course, I believed, and we 
all went up to our rooms, suspecting nothing. Let me ever 
catch her out at the street door again ! Home she'll go to 
Upton Snodsbury." 

Groans from the back, in the vicinity of Susan Marks. 

" Had you known previousl}', Mrs. Jones, that Mr. Ollivera 
was in the habit of bringing with him a loaded pistol ? " 

"Yes : for he told me. One day last October, when I w-as 
dusting his drawing-room, he had it out of its case. I said 
I -should not like such a weapon near me, and he laughed. 
He used to keep it on the chest of drawers in his bedroom : 
that is, the case ; and I suppose the thing itself was inside." 

" Your husband w^as not at home when this unfortunate 
event happened, Mrs. Jones?" 

" No, Jie was 72ot,^' assented Mrs. Jones ; and her resentful 
tones appeared to reach their climax. " He has been off to 
Wales last week and this, and is as likely as not to be there 
next." 

Another question or two, not of much importance, and Mrs. 
Jones gave place to her husband's nephew. He was known 
in the town as a steady, well-conducted, quite trustworthy 
young man. He had not very much to tell, 

" My name is Alfred Jones," he said, "and I live with my 
uncle, Richard Jones, as assistant in the shop " 



28 ROLAND YORKE. 

-Which wouldn't want any assistant at all, if Jones 



stayed at home and stuck to his duties," put in Mrs. Jones's 
sharp voice from the back. Upon which she was admonished 
to hold her tongue : and the witness continued. 

" On Monday night, I put up the shutters at seven, as usual 
in the winter season ; I changed my coat, washed my hands, 
and went to the debating club in Goose Lane. Soon after I 
got there I found I had forgotten a book that I ought to have 
taken back to the club library. The time for keeping it was 
up, and as we are fined twopence if we keep a book over time, 
I went back for it. It was then half-past seven. The door 
was open, and Susan, the servant, was standing outside. As 
I ran up the stairs, the book being m my bedroom at the top 
of the house, I heard the drawing-room door open just after 
I passed it. I turned my head, and saw a gentleman come 
out. He " 

" Did you know him, witness ? " 

"No, sir, he was a stranger to me. I knovv him now for 
Mr. Greatorex. He was talking to Mr. Ollivera. They were 
making an appointment for the next morning." 

" Did you hear wliat was said?" 

" Yes, sir. As I looked round at the gentleman he was 
turning towards the room, and said, ' Yes, you may rely upon 
my coming early; I'll be here before nine o'clock. Good- 
night, John.' Those were, I think, the exact words, sir." 

" Did you see Mr. Ollivera ? " 

" No, sir, he did not come out, and the gentleman only 
pushed the door back a little whilst he spoke. Had it been 
wide open I couldn't have seen in ; I was some two or three 
steps up the stairs. I turned then to attend Mr. Greatorex to 
the front door. After that I ran up for my book, and left the 
house again. I was not two minutes in it altogether." 

" Did you see Mr. Ollivera as you came down ? " 

"No, sir. The drawing-room door was closed, as Mr. 
Greatorex had left it. I never saw or heard anything of Mr. 
Ollivera again until Miss Rye's screams brought me down the 
next morning. That is all I know." 

'■ At what hour did you go home on Monday evening ? " 

" It was close upon eleven, sir. We generally disperse at 
half-past ten, but we stayed late that night. Mrs. Jones and 
Miss Rye had not long come in, and were in the sitting-room." 

The next witness called was Susan Marks. The young 



BEFORE THE CORONER, 29 

woman, what with her own heinous offences on the eventful 
night, the dreadful calamity itself, and the reproaches of her 
mistress, had been in a state of tears ever since, and they kept 
breaking forth at most unseasonable times. 

Susan Marks, aged nineteen, native of Upton Snodsbury, 
cook and servant-of-all-work to Mrs. Jones. Such was the 
young woman's report of herself, as well as could be heard for 
her sobs and tears. She was neatly attired. 

"Now, young woman," said the coroner, briskly, as if he 
thought time was being lost, " what have you to tell us of the 
events of Monday night ? " 

"Nothing, sir," replied the young woman, with a fresh burst 
of grief. " I never saw Mr. Ollivera at all after I showed the 
gendeman up to him." 

" Well, let us hear about that. What time was it ? " 

" It was past six, sir ; I don't know how much. I had 
washed up Mr. Ollivera's dinner things, and was putting the 
plates and dishes on the dresser, when Mr. Ollivera's bell rang. 
It was for his lamp, which I lighted and took in : he always 
wanted it before daylight was well over when he was busy. 
He seemed in a hurry, and drew down the window-blinds 
himself. I lighted the gas outside the drawing-room door, and 
went back to the kitchen. Ncp sooner was I there — leastways 
it couldn't have been five minutes — when there came a ring at 
the front-door bell. I went to answer it, and saw a tall 
gentleman, who asked for Mr. Ollivera, and I showed him 
upstairs to the drawing-room." 

'■' Who was that gentleman ? " 

" It was Mr. Greatorex. But I didn't know him then, sir. 
I thought it was a barrister ; he didn't give no name." 

" Did you see Mr. Ollivera when you took this gentleman 
up?" 

"Yes, sir. He was sitting writing at the table, and I saw 
the things on it. I hadn't noticed them much when I took 
the lamp in. I saw the papers put tidy, which had been all 
about when he was at his dinner. I think he was very busy 
that evening," urged the witness, as if the fact might plead an 
excuse for what afterwards took place : " when I removed the 
dinner things he told me to put the sherry on the sideboard ; 
sometimes, if he wanted to take any, he'd have it left on the 
table." 

"Did he seem glad to see Mr. Greatorex?" 



30 ROLAND YORKE. 

" Yes, sir, very. They shook hands, and Mr. Greatorex 
began telUng him what he had come down about, and said his 
father had sent him in place of telegrumming. I asked Mr. 
OlUvera what time he'd hke to have tea, but he said he didn't 
know v.'hether he should take any, he might be going out ; if 
he wanted it, he'd ring. How was I to think, after that, that 
I ought to have went up to him, to see how he might be getting 
on, which Missis has been a-going on at me ever since for not 
doing?" demanded the witness, with a shower of tears. 

"Come, come ! there, wipe your face," said one of the jury, 
with rough kindness. And the questions went on, and the 
witness's replies. 

It was about an hour that Mr. Greatorex stayed, she thought. 
She saw him come out at the street door, and go away. Well, 
yes, she was a yard or two off, at a neighbour's door, next 
house but one. After Missis went out and the shop was shut, 
and Alfred Jones went out, and there wasn't nobody indoors 
to want her, she thought it no harm to stand at the street 
door a bit : and if she did go a step or two away from it, she 
never took her eyes off the door, and no person could go in or 
out without her seeing them, and that she'd swear. She sav/ 
Mr. Greatorex come out and walk away up High Street ; and 
she never heard no sound in the house whatsoever. 

" Did any one go in ? " the coroner asked. 

" No, sir, not a soul — barring Alfred Jones and Miss Rye. 
Alfred Jones came back after he first went out, saying that he 
had forgot something, and he went upstairs to fetch it. He 
wasn't there no time ; and it was while he was up there that 
Mr. Greatorex came down and left. Soon after that, Miss 
Rye come in, and went upstairs, and was there ever so long." 

" What do you call ' ever so long ' ? " 

" Well, sir, I'm sure she was there a quarter-of-an-hour," 
returned the witness, in quick, positive tones, as if the fact of 
Miss Rye's being there so long displeased her. " I ought to 
know; and me standing inside the door-sill, afraid to move 
off it for fear she should come out." 

" Were you alone ? " 

"Well, yes, sir, I was. Mary, the housemaid at the big 
linendraper's, next door but one, can bear me out that I was, 
for she was there all the time, talking to me." 

Perhaps the coroner thought the answer savoured of Hiber- 
nianism^ for something like a smile crossed his face. 



BEFORE THE CORONER. 31 

" And you heard no sound whatever upstairs all the evening, 
Susan Marks ? You saw no one go in or come out, except the 
persons mentioned ; no stranger? " 

" I never heard no sound, and never saw no stranger at all," 
said the witness, earnestly. " I never even saw Godfrey 
Pitm.an leave. But I believe he was away earlier." 

The concluding announcement fell with surprise on the 
room. A pause ensued, and the coroner lifted his head 
sharply. Godfrey Pitman ? Who was Godfrey Pitman? 

" Who is Godfrey Pitman, witness ? " 

"The lodger at the top of the house, sin He had the front 
bedroom there — and a fine dance it was to carry his meals up. 
Missis gave him the offer of taking them in the little room off 
the kitchen, but I suppose he was too proud to come down. 
Any way, he didn't come." 

" Is he lodging there now ? " 

" Oh no, sir, he was only there a week and a day, and left 
on the Monday. He was a traveller in the spectacles line, he 
told me, passing through the town; which he likewise wore 
himself sometimes. Well, sir, I never saw him go at all, and 
he didn't never give me as much as a shilling for having waited 
on him and carried his trays up all them stairs." 

The girl had told apparently what she knew, and the coroner 
requested Mrs. Jones to come in again. He questioned her 
about the lodger. 

"It was a person named Pitman," she answered, readily. 
" He was only passing through the town, and occupied the 
room for a w^eek." 

" Who was he ? " asked the coroner. " Did you know him ? " 

"I didn't know him from Adam," answered Mrs. Jones, 
tartly. " I knew nothing about him. I called him AUetha 
Rye's lodger, not mine, for it was she picked him up. He 
may have told her all about himself, for aught I can say. She 
seemed to take a desperate fancy to him, and mended his 
travelling bag. He didn't tell me. Not but what he seemed 
a civil, respectable man enough." 

"When did he leave you, ISIrs. Jones?" 

" On Monday, about half-past four, when he took the five- 
o'clock train for Birmingham. He came to the inner shop 
door as he was going out, and thanked me for my kindness, as 
he called it, in taking him in at a pinch ; he said it was not 
every one would do so for a stranger. Neither is it.' 



32 ROLAND YORKE. 

"You are sure he left you at that hour?" 
" Have I the use of my eyes and senses?'' demanded Mrs. 
Jones. " Sure ! I walked to the side-door after him, and 
saw him go up the street towards the railway with his blue bag. 
Of course I am sure. It was as I crossed the hall, on my way 
back, that Mr. Ollivera came in, and I spoke to him as I have 
told you." 

It was therefore placed beyond doubt that Mr. Pitman, the 
lodger, could have no act or part in what took place in the 
house later in the day. The coroner would have dismissed 
the subject summarily, but one of the jury, a man who liked to 
hear himself talk, expressed an opinion that it might be satis- 
factory if they questioned Miss Rye. With a gesture of 
impatience the coroner called for her. 

She came in, was asked what she knew of Mr. Pitman, and 
stood before them in silence, her face a little bent, her fore- 
finger, encased in its well-fitting black kid glove, pressed 
lightly on her hp, her clear blue eye looking out straight before 
her. It was as if she were trying to recall something to her 
memory. 

" I recollect now," she said, after a minute : " I could not 
remember what took me up by the railway station, where I 
met him. It was last Sunday week, in the afternoon. Mrs. 
Hillman, who lives up there, was ill, and I had been to see 
her. As I was leaving her house, towards dusk, a few passen- 
gers were coming down from the station. I stood on the door- 
step until they should have passed ; and one of them, with a 
blue bag in his hand, like those that lawyers' clerks carry, 
stopped and asked me if I had a room in my house that I 
could let him occupy for a week. I supposed he took the 
house where I stood for mine. He went on to say he was a 
traveller and a stranger, had never before been to the town, 
felt very poorly, and would very much like to be spared the 
bustle of an hotel. I knew that my sister, Mrs. Jones, had a 
bedroom ready for letting," continued Miss Rye, " and I 
thought she might not object to oblige him ; he spoke quite as 
a gentleman, and I felt rather sorry for him, for he looked 
haggard and ill. That is how it happened." 

" And your sister admitted him, and he stayed the week ? " 
cried the juror. 

" Strictly speaking, I admitted him ; for when we reached 
home I found that Mrs. Jones had gone to sit with old 



BEFORE THE CORONER. 33 

Jenkins for the rest of the day. So I took it upon myself to 
do so. On Saturday last Mr. Pitman said he would, with 
our permission, remain a day over the week, and leave on 
Monday." 

"And did he pay the rent, Miss Rye?" asked the juror, 
who perhaps had a doubt on the point. 

'• He paid the first week's rent as soon as he was admitted 
to the house, and gave a sovereign towards purchasing his 
provisions," was the answer. " What remained he settled for 
on the Monday, previous to his departure by the five-o'clock 
train for Birmingham." 

" Who was he, witness ? Where did he come from ? " 

" I really cannot tell you much about him," was Miss Rye's 
reply. " I understood him to say he was a traveller ; his name, 
as he wrote it down for us, was Godfrey Pitman. He was laid 
up with a bad cold and relaxed throat all the time he stayed, 
and borrowed some books from me to read." 

There appeared to be no further scope for the exercise of 
the juror's powers ; no possible loophole for bringing this 
departed Mr. Godfrey Pitman into connection with the death 
of Mr. Ollivera ; and Miss Rye was allowed to depart. 

Little more evidence was to be gleaned. Mr. Kene, tender- 
ing evidence, spoke of his long intimacy with the deceased, 
and of their last interview, when he was just the same as he 
ever had been : calm, cheerful, earnest. He could not under- 
stand, he added, how it was possible for Mr. Ollivera to have 
laid violent hands on himself — unless, indeed, the headache, 
of which he had complained, proceeded from some derange- 
ment of the functions of the brain, which induced temporary 
insanity. 

But this theory was wholly incompatible with the letter that 
had been, found, and with Mr, Bede Greatorex's testimony of 
the sanity of the deceased when he quitted him. The jury 
shook their heads : keen-eyed Mr Butterby, looking on unob- 
trusively from a remote nook of the room, shook his. 

The inquest drew to a close ; the one fatal element in the 
evidence being the letter found on the table. The coroner and 
jury debated upon their verdict with closed doors, and only 
readmitted the public when they had come to a decision. It 
did not take them very long. 

" Felo-de-se." 

In accordance with the customary usage, a mandate was 

Roland Yorke. O 



34 ROLAND YORKE. 

issued for a night interment, \Yithout Christian rites ; and the 
undertaker promised to be ready for that same night. 

The crowd filed out of the room, talking eagerly. That it 
was undoubtedly a case of suicide, and that in the most 
unhappy sense of the word, none doubted. No, not one ; even 
Mr. Kene began to waver. 

As they were dispersing hither and thither along the street, 
there came up hastily a young man in the garb of a clergyman. 
It was the Reverend Henry William OUivera, brother uf the 
deceased gentleman. He had just arrived by train. In as 
few words as possible, his cousin, Frank Greatorex, and Mr. 
Kene gave him some hasty particulars of the unhappy event. 

"He never did it," said the clergyman, solemnly. " Bede" 
— for at that moment Bede Greatorex joined the speakers — 
" how could you suffer them to bring in a verdict so horrible ? " 

But Mr. Ollivera had not heard the full details yet. By 
common consent, as it were, they had not at first told him of 
the letter. Bede would not tell it now. Let the worst conic 
out to him by degrees, thought he. 

" I am going up to town," said Bede Greatorex. " If— — " 

" And not remain for to-night? " interrupted one of them, in 
accents savouring of reproach. 

" Nay, I must consider my father," was the grave reply of 
Bede. " He is in suspense all this time, waiting for news." 

So they parted. Bede Greatorex hastened to catch the train 
departing for London. And the others remained to see the 
last of the ill-fated John Ollivera. 

He was carried out of Mr. Jones's in the bright moonlight, 
soon after eleven o'clock had struck. Whether intentionally, 
as best befitting the ceremony to be performed, or whether in 
forgetfulness, the undertaker had failed to provide a covering 
for the coffin. And Mrs. Jones, with sundry stinging words of 
reprimand to the man, such as it was in Mrs. Jones's nature to 
give, brought down a long black woollen shawl, and helped to 
spread it over the coffin with her own hands. 

Thus the procession started, preceded by curious gazers, 
followed by many more, Alletha Rye stealing on amidst the 
latter ; and so went on to the place of interment, 

You have seen what took place ther^ 



( 35 ) 
CHAPTER IV. 

GOING HOME WITH THE NEWS. 

In the neighbourhood of Bedford Square, so near to it that we 
may as well designate the locality by that name throughout the 
story, stood the imposing professional residence of Greatorex 
and Greatorex. It was imposing in ever)' sense of the word ; 
both as to the size of the house, and to the extent of the 
business transacted in it. A safe, good, respectable firm was 
that of Greatorex and Greatorex, standing as well in public 
estimation as any solicitors could stand ; and deservedly so. 
Mr. Greatorex was a man of honour; upright, just, trust- 
worthy. He would never have soiled his hands with what is 
technically called dirty work. If any client wanted under- 
hand business done, swindling work (although it might be 
legal) that would not bear the light of day, he need not take 
it to Greatorex and Greatorex 

The head of the firm, John Greatorex, was still in what 
many call the prime of life. He was fifty-eight, active and 
energetic. Marrying when he was very young, he really did 
not look a great deal older than his son Bede. And Bede 
was not his first-born. The eldest son had entered the army, 
and he was now in India; Captain Greatorex. He also had 
married young, and his little daughter and only child had been 
sent home to her grandparent in accordance with the preva- 
lent custom. 

The wife of Mr. Greatorex had been Miss Ollivera, sister to 
the father of John Ollivera, the barrister, whose sad end has 
been lately recorded. ^Mrs. Greatorex had fallen into ill-health 
for some time past now ; in fact, she was slowly dying of an 
incurable complaint. But lor not liking to leave her, Mr. 
Greatorex might have hastened dovrn as soon as the sad news 
reached him of his nephew's premature end. I say he might 
have done so ; but Mr. Greatorex was, himself, only recovering 
from an attack of illness, and was scarcely strong enough to 
travel. And so he waited at home with all the patience he 
could command, understanding nothing but that his nephew 
John, who had been as dear to him as his own children, was 



36 ROLAND YORKE. 

dead. His children had been many — eight : James (Captain 
Greatorex), the eldest ; Bede, the second, one year younger ; 
next came two daughters, who were married and away; then a 
son, Matthew, who was working his way to competency in 
Spain ; the two next had died, and Francis was the youngest. 
The latter, called Frank always, was in the house in Bedford 
Square, but not yet made a partner. 

The young barrister, just dead, John Ollivera, left no rela- 
tions to mourn for him, except his brother Henry William, 
and the Greatorex family. The two brothers had to make 
their own way in the world, their uncle Mr. Greatorex helping 
them to do it ; the elder one choosing the Bar (as you have 
seen) ; Henry William, the Church. John had his chambers 
in Lincoln's Inn, and v.'ould certainly have risen into note had 
lie lived : Henry William was a curate. 

Three o'clock was striking in London on Wednesday after- 
noon, as a train slackened its speed and drew into the Pad- 
dington terminus. One of the tirst of its passengers to alight 
was Mr. Bede Greatorex. He had a small black bag in his 
hand, and jumped with it into a hansom cab. 

" Bedford Square !" 

The cabman answered with a nod as he touched his hat. 
He had driven Mr. Bede Greatorex before, who was sufficiently 
well known in London. Instead, however, of being permitted 
to dash up to the well-known door, the man found himself 
stopped a few yards short of it. 

"I'll get out here," said Bede Greatorex. 

Paying the fare, he went on with his bag, and glanced up at 
the windows as he crossed to the house. All the blinds were 
down. It was a very large house, and had been two originally. 
In the old, old days, some thirty years ago or more, Mr. 
Greatorex had rented only one of the houses. As his family 
and business increased, he bought the one he occupied and 
the one adjoining, and made the two into one. There were 
two entrances still ; the one belonged to the house and 
!Mrs. Greatorex ; the other was the professional entrance. The 
rooms on the ground floor — and there were several — were 
given up to business ; one of them, looking out on the garden, 
was the sitting-room of Mr. Greatorex. 

Bede went to the private entrance, and let himself in with 
his latch-key. Leaving his small bag at the foot of the hand- 
some staircase, he walked through some passages to his 



COING HOME Wltli THE NEWS. -^j 

father's sitting-room, which was empty. Retracing his steps, 
he went upstairs; a maid-servant happened to meet him on 
the first landing ; he handed her the bag and opened the door 
of the dining-room. A spacious, well-furnished apartment, the 
walls white and gold, with touches of crimson slightly inter- 
mingled to give them colouring. 

Mr. Greatorex was there. He sat over the fire and had 
fallen asleep. It surprised Bede ; for Mr. Greatorex was a 
man not given to idleness or indulgence of any kind. Indeed, 
to see him sitting upstairs in the daytinie was an event almost 
unknown. Bede closed the door again softly. There was a 
haggard look in the elder man's face, partly the effect of his 
recent illness ; and Bede would not disturb him. 

Outside the door, he stood a moment in hesitation. It was 
a spacious landing-place, something like an upper hall. The 
floor was carpeted with dark green ; stained windows threw a 
bright tone over everything ; there was a small conservatory at 
one end, filled with ferns and rare flowers ; and a chaste 
statue or two imparted still life to the whole. 

Bede hesitated. None but himself knew how horribly he 
hated and dreaded the tale he had to tell about poor John 
Ollivera. All the way up he had been rehearsing to himself 
the manner in which he should break it to them, and now he 
had forgotten every word he intended to say. 

'• I will go up and wash my hands first, at any rate," decided 
Bede. " The dust was worse than we had it on Monday." 

Ascending to the second landing, he was quietly crossing it 
to his own room, when a door was flung open, and a pretty 
little girl in blue, her curls bound back with ribbons, came 
flying out. It was the daughter of Captain Greatorex. The 
young lady had naturally a will of her own ; and since her 
arrival from India, the indulgence lavished on her had not 
tended to lessen it. But she was a charming child, and 
wonderfully keen. 

" Oh, Bede, have you come back ! Grandmamma has been 
asking for you all day long." 

'• Hush, Jane ! I'll go in to grandmamma presently." 

Miss Jane did not choose to "hush." She avoided Bede's 
hand, flew across the soft carpet of the landing, and threw 
open a bedroom door, calling out that Bede had come. As to 
styling him Uncle Bede, she had never done anything of the 
kind. 



38 ROLAND YORKE. 

He heard his mother's voice, and could ahiiost have boxed 
the child's ears. Back she came again, laying hold of him 
this time, her saucy dark brown eyes, grave now, lifted up to 
his face. 

" Bede, how came John Ollivera to die ? " 

" Hush, Jane," he said again. This was precisely the pomt 
on which he did not care to hold present communication with 
his mother. He wished, if possible, to spare her; but the 
little girl was persistent. 

"/i- he dead, Bede?" 

" Yes, child, he is dead." 

*' Oh dear ! And he can never kiss me again, or bring me 
new dplls ! I broke the last one in two, and threw it at him." 

Her eyes filled with tears. Bede, deep in thought, put 
away the little hands that had fastened on his arms. 

•' I liked him better than you, Bede. What made him die ? '■' 

" Bede ! Bede ! is that you ? " called out his mother. 

Bede had to go in. Mrs. Greatorex was on the sofa, dressed, 
supported by pillows. Her complexion was of dark olive, 
showing her Spanish extraction ; a capable, kindly woman she 
had ever been in life ; and was endeavouring now to meet the 
death that she knew could not be far off, as a Christian should. 
He stooped and kissed her. In features he resembled her 
more than any of her children. 

'•' Do you feel better, mother?" 

" My dear, you know that there can be no ' better ' for me 
here. The pain is not great to-day. Have you just come up 
to town ? " 

" Just got in now." 

*' And what have you to tell me ? I cannot believe that 
John is dead. When the telegram came yesterday morning, 
your father happened to be with me, and they brought it up. 
But for that, I dare say he would not have told me yet. He 
spares me all the trouble that he can, you know, dear. I 
fainted, Bede, I did indeed. His death must have been very 
sudden." 

" Yes," rephed Bede. 

" Was it a fit ? Jane, run to the schoolroom. Y^our 
governess will be angry at your staying away so long." 

Jane's answer to this mandate was to perch herself on the 
arm of the sofa, side by side with the speaker, and to fix her 
eyes and her attention on Bede's face. 






GOING HOME WITH THE NEWS. 39 

" None of the Olliveras have been subject to fits ; remember 
that, Bede," continued Mrs. Greatorex. " Neither did John 
himself look at all likely to have one. To think that he should 
go before me ! Jane, my little dear one, you must indeed go 
to Miss Ford.'' 

" I am going to stay here, grand'ma, and to hear about John." 

" There's nothing much to hear, or to tell," spoke Bede, as 
much perhaps for his mother's ear as for the child's. " If you 
do not obey your grandmamma, Jane, I shall take you myself 
to the schoolroom." 

" No, you won't, Bede. Why don't you answer grand'ma 
about John ? " 

Mrs. Greatorex had nearly left off contending with IMiss 
Jane; weary, sick, in pain, it was too much effort, and she 
generally yielded to the dominant little will. As she appeared 
to do now, for it was to Bede she spoke. 

" Bede, dear, you are keeping me in suspense. Was it a 
fit?" 

" No ; it could not be called a fit." 

" The heart, perhaps ? " 

"His death must have been quite sudden," said Bede, witli 
pardonable evasion. " Instantaneous, the doctors thought : 
and therefore without pain." 

" Poor John ! poor John ! The veil is lifted for him. Bede ! " 

Bede had begun to turn his attention to the young lady, and 
was putting her down from the sofa. He wheeled round at the 
word, and Miss Jane mounted again. 

" What, mother ? " 

Mrs. Greatorex dropped her voice reverently : and her dark 
eyes, looking large from illness, had a bright, hopeful, yearning 
light in them as she spoke. 

'*' I think he was fit to go." 

" Yes," answered Bede, swallowing a lump of emotion. 
" It is the one drop of comfort amidst much darkness. At 

least But I must keep my word," he added, breaking off 

suddenly, and seizing the cliild again, as if glad of an excuse ; 
"you go now to Miss Ford, young lady." 

She set up a succession of cries. Bede only carried her 
away the faster. 

"You'll come back and tell me more, Bede," said Mrs. 
Greatorex. 

" I will come by-and-by," he turned to say. '•' I h?ve pres^"'- 



40 ROLAND YORKE, 

ing things to do ; and I have not yet spoken with my father. 
Try and get your afternoon's sleep, mother, dear." 

Miss Ford, a nursery governess, stood at the schoolroom 
door, and began to scold her pupil as she received her from 
the hands of Mr. Bede Greatorex. He shut himself into his 
room for a few minutes, and then descended the stairs in deep 
thought. He had begun to ask himself whether the worst 
could not be kept from his mother , not for very long could 
she be spared to them now. 

Mr. Greatorex was then coming out of the dining-room. He 
shook hands with his son, and they went back and sat down 
together. Bede grew quite agitated at the task before him. 
He hated to inflict pain ; he knew that John Ollivera had been 
dear to his father, and that the blow would be keenly felt. All 
the news as yet sent up by him to Bedford Square was, that 
John was dead. 

Whence, then, that grey look on his father's face? — the 
haggard mouth, the troubled, shrinking eyes going searchingly 
out to Bede's? Mr. Greatorex was a fresh-looking man in 
general, with a healthy colour and smooth brown hair, tall 
and upright as his son. He looked short and shrinking and 
pale now. 

" Bede, how came he to do it ? " 

Something like a relief came into Bede's heart as he heard 
the words. It was so much better for the way to have been 
paved for him ! — the shock would not be so great. 

" Then you know the particulars, sir." 

" I fear I know the truth, Bede ; not the particulars. The 
Times had a short paragraph this morning, saying that John 
Ollivera had died by his own hand. Was it so ? " 

Bede gravely nodded. His breath was coming and going 
faster than is consistent with inward calmness. 

" My God ! " cried Mr. Greatorex, from between his quiver- 
ing lips, as he sank into a chair, and covered his face with his 
hands. But the sacred word was not spoken in irreverence ; 
no, nor in surprise ; rather, as it seemed, in the light of prayer. 

" And what could have induced it ? " came the question 
presently, as he let his hands fall. 

" I had better tell you all from the beginning," said Bede ; 
" you will then " 

" Tell it, of course," interrupted Mr. Greatorex. " Begin at 
the beginning." 



GOING HOME WITH THE NEWS. 4t 

Eede stood up, facing the fire ; his elbow on the mantel- 
piece, his back partially turned to his father, while he told it : 
he did not care to watch the anguish and horror of the usually 
placid face. He concealed nothing : relating how he had 
reached the city and held an interview with his cousin ; how 
he had left him after the lapse of an hour, promising to be 
with him in the morning before starting for town ; and how he 
had been aroused from his bed by the tidings that John was 
dead. He described the state of the room when found ; tlic 
pistol lying underneath the hand ; the note on the table. As 
well as Bede Greatorex could repeat the details, as testified to 
before the coroner — and we may be very sure they were im- 
planted with painful exactitude on his memory — he gave them 
all faithfully. 

" It might have been an accident," urged Mr. Greatorex, in 
an imploring tone, as if he wanted to be assured that it was so. 

Bede did not answer. 

" I forgot the writing, Bede ; I forgot the writing," said Mr. 
Greatorex, with a groan. 

" Whatever it might be, whether by accident or of intention, 
it is an awful shame to bury him as they are going to do," bur^l 
forth Bede, in a sudden access of anger. 

And the vrords served to tell Mr, Greatorex what the verdict 
had been. 

" It is a sin, sir ; yes, it is. I could not stay to see it." 

" So it may be, Bede ; but that's the least of it — that's the 
least of it. I would as soon have believed myself capable of 
such a thing as that John Ollivera was. Oh, John ! John ! " 

A painful silence. Bede felt glad that his task was so far 
over- 

" His motive, Bede ? What could have been his motive ? " 

" There was no motive, father ; as far as I can see." 

" You were young men together, Bede ; of the same pursuits 
— frequent companions ; did you ever suspect that he had any 
care, or embarrassment, or trouble ? " 

" No. He had none, I feel sure." 

"Those first words in the note, as you have related them, 
sound curiously," resumed Mr. Greatorex. " What was it that 
he was trying to accomplish ? " 

" We cannot discover ; no clue whatever has come to light. 
It would almost seem as though he had vmtten them to the 
air, without foundation." 



42 ROLAND YORKE. 

" That would be to say his senses had deserted him." 

*' Kene thinks tliat the headache of which he had complained 
may have proceeded from some disordeied function of the 
brain, and induced insanity." 

"Do you think it?" asked Mr. Greatorex, looking at his 
son. " You were the last person who saw him alive." 

" I should be glad to think it if I could. He was quite calm 
and collected when I was with him; just as usual." 

" The extraordinary thing to me is, that no one should have 
heard the discharge of the pistol." 

" The people of the house were all out. Even the servant- 
girl had gone about the neighbourhood gossiping." 

" It might have been heard in the street." 

" If the street were quiet, perhaps yes. But on assize nights, 
they tell me, there is an unusual amount of outdoor bustle." 

Mr. Greatorex sat looking at the fire, revolving the different 
points of the dreadful history. Bede resumed. 

" I was wondering whether the worst could be kept from my 
mother. It would try her terribly. She only thinks as yet, I 
find, that he died suddenly." 

" Because she only knows as much as your telegram said. 
It will be impossible to keep it from her ; the newspapers will 
be full of it. Three times to-day has your mother sent down 
for the Times, and I have returned an excuse. There's no 
help for it, Bede." 

" Then you shall tell her, sir. I can't. It must be broken 
to her by degrees. How was it that William Ollivera was so 
late in coming down ? " he suddenly resumed. " He only 
arrived to-day as I was departing." 

" William Ollivera was out of town, and did not return until 
last night. You have said nothing about our cause, Bede." 

" That's all right. It was taken yesterday afternoon. Kene 
led in the place of John, and we gained the verdict." 

*' Where are John's papers and things ? " 

*' His brother and Frank will take charge of them. I have 
his private letters. I thought it best to come up to you at 
once, knowing you were in suspense." 

"A suspense that has been grievous since I read that para- 
graph this morning, Bede. I have been fit for nothing ever 
since." 

Neither was Bede that day. Mr. Greatorex rose to go to his 
wife's room, there to enter upon his task — ^just as his son had 



GOING HOME WITH THE NEWS. ^^ 

entered upon it with him. Bede paced the carpet for a few 
minutes alone. It was a long room ; the furniture not dark 
and heavy, but light-looking and pleasant to the eye, though 
comprising all the requisites for a well-appointed dining-room. 
Bede took a look at himself in the pier-glass, and pushed his 
hair from his forehead — his sisters used to accuse him of in- 
ordinate vanity. And then he left the room and the house. 

He was bending his steps to Lincoln's Inn, to the chambers 
occupied by his cousin. Not many yards had he gone, before 
some one darted across the street and pounced upon him. 

" Halloa, Greatorex ! What's this, that's up about Ollivcra?" 

It was a Chancery barrister, who had known John Ollivera 
well. Bede Greatorex explained in a few short words, and 
hurried off. 

" I can't stay to tell you more now," he said in apology. 
"There's a great deal to do and to be thought of, and I hardly 
know whether our heads are on our shoulders or off them. I'm 
on my Avay to his chambers to search if there may be any paper, 
or anything else, that can throw light on the mystery." 

A hansom passed at the moment, and Bede jumped into it. 
Otherwise he might have met fifty questioners, and reached his 
destination after dark. The chambers were on the third floor, 
and he went up to them. Mr. Ollivera's clerk, a small youth 
of nineteen, was at his post ; and the laundress, who waited on 
Mr. Ollivera, was there also. The news had brought her up in 
tears. 

Perhaps it was excusable that they should both begin upon 
Mr. Bede Greatorex in their anxiety for information. Respect- 
full}', of course, but eagerly. He responded in a few quiet 
words, and passed into the rooms. 

Here was the sitting-room where John saw people ; next to 
it his bedroom ; all in order. Near the bed was a small 
mahogany stand, and a cushioned chair. On the stand lay his 
Bible — just as the other one was seen but yesterday resting on 
its stand elsewhere. Bede knew that his cousin never failed 
to read that Bible, and to fall on his knees before the chair 
morning and evening. He turned away with a groan, and 
proceeded to his search. 

Only a casual search to-day ; there was no time for any 
minute examination. Just a look here and there, lest haply he 
might come upon some paper or letter of elucidation. But he 
could not find any. 



44 ROLAND YORICE. 

" I am going to lock the rooms up, Jenner," he said to the 
clerk. " Things must be left as they are until the Reverend 
Mr. Ollivera comes to town. He will have the arranging of 
matters. I don't suppose there's any will." 

"Am I to leave at once, sir? — now?" asked Mr. Jenncr, 
in surprise. 

" You must leave the rooms now — unless you would like to 
be locked up in them," returned Bede Greatorex. " Call in at 
Bedford Square to morrow morning ; we may be able to recom- 
mend you to something : and perhaps you will be wanted here 
again for a few days." 

They left the chambers together ; and Mr. Bede Greatorex 
took possession of the key. " I suppose," he said to the clerk, 
as they went down, " that you never observed any peculiarity 
in Mr. Ollivera that might have induced you to suspect aberra- 
tion of mind ? " 

The young man turned and stared, scarcely taking in the 
sense of the question. Certainly there had not been anything 
of the kind observable in Mr. Ollivera. 

" He was cheerful and sensible always, sir ; he didn't seem 
to have a care in the world." 

Bede sighed, and proceeded homewards. A recollection 
came over him, as he went along in the dusk, of the last even- 
ing he had walked home from his cousin's chambers ; it was 
only the night before John had gone on circuit. Oh, the con- 
trast between that time and this ! And Bede thought, in the 
bitter grief and sorrow of the moment, that he would willingly 
forfeit his own life could he recall that of John OlUvera. 



CHAPTER V. 

ME. BUTTERBY IN PRIVATE LIFE. 

The bustle of the assizes was over ; the tramp and tread and 
hum had gone out of the streets j the judges, the barristers, and 
the rest of the visitors had departed, to hold their assize at the 
next county town. 

A great deal of the bustle and hum of another event had 
also subsided. It does not linger long when outward proceed- 
ings are over, and sensational adjuncts have ceased ; and Mr. 



MR. BUTTERBY IN PRIVATE LIFE. 45 

Ollivera, at best, had been only a stranger His grave had its 
visitors still ; but his brother and other friends had left for 
London, carrying his few effects with them. Nothing remained 
to tell of the fatal act of the past Monday evening; but for 
that grave, it might have seemed to have had no place in 
reality. 

The Reverend INIr. Ollivera had been firm in refusing to 
admit belief in his brother's guilt. He did not pretend to 
judge how it might have happened, whether by accident or by 
some enemy's hand ; but he felt convinced the death could not 
have been self-inflicted. It was an impossibility, he avowed to 
Mr. Butterby — and lie was looked upon, by that renowned 
officer, as next door to a lunatic for his pains. There was no 
more shadow of a doubt on Mr. Butterby's mind that the 
verdict had been in accordance with facts, than there was on 
other people's. 

Always excepting Alletha Rye's. She had been silent to the 
public since the avowal at the grave ; but, in a dispute with 
Mrs. Jones, had repeated her assertion and belief. Upon a 
report of the display coming to Mrs. Jones's ears, that discreet 
matron — who certainly erred on the side ot hard, correct, 
matter-of-fact propriety, if on any — attacked her sister in no 
measured terms. There were several years between them, and 
Mrs. Jones considered she had a right to do it. Much as Mrs. 
Jones had respected Mr. Ollivera in life, she entertained no 
doubt whatever on the subject of his death. 

" My opinion is, you must have been crazy," came the sharp 
reprimartd. " Go off after that tramping tail to the grave ! I 
wish I'd seen you start. A good name is easier lost than 
regained, Alletha Rye." 

" I am not afraid of losing mine," was the calm rejoinder. 

" Folks seldom are till they find it gone," said Mrs. Jones, 
tartly. " My goodness ! not content with trapesing off there in 
the middle of the night, you must go and make an exhibition 
of yourself besides ! — kneeling down on the damp earth in the 
face and eyes of all the people ; and then rising to make a pro- 
clamation, just as if you had been the town bellman ! Jones 
says it struck him dumb." 

Alletha Rye was silent. Perhaps she had felt vexed since, 
that the moment's excitement had led her to the act. 

"Who are you, that you should put yourself up against the 
verdict?" resumed Mrs. Jones. "Are you cleverer and sharper 



46 ROLAND YORKE. 

than the jury, and the coroner, and me, and Mr. Ollivera's 
friends, and the rest of the world, all of us put together ? There 
can't be a doubt upon the point, girl." 

" Let it drop," said Alletha, shivering. 

" Drop ! I should like to see it drop. I should like the 
remembrance to drop out of men's minds, but you've took care 
that shan't be. What on earth induced you to go and do it ? " 

" It was a dreadful thing that Mr. Ollivera should lie under 
the imputation of having killed himself," came the answer, after 
a pause. 

" Now, just explain yourself, Alletha Rye. You keep harp- 
ing on that same string about Mr. Ollivera; what grounds 
have you for it ? " 

The girl's pale face flushed. " None," she presently an- 
swered. " I never said I had grounds. But there's that vivid 
dream upon me always. He seemed to reproach me for not 
liaving sooner gone into the room to find him ; and I'm sure 
no self-murderer would do that. They would rather lie un- 
discovered for ever. Had I kept silence," she passionately 
added, " I might have become haunted." 

Mrs. Jones stared at the speaker with all the fervour of her 
dark eyes. 

" Haunted ! Haunted by what ? " 

"By Mr. Ollivera's spirit; by remorse. Remorse for not 
doing as I am sure he is wishing me to do — clear his memory." 

Mrs. Jones lifted her hands, in wonder, and for once made 
no retort. She began to question in real earnest whether the 
past matters had not turned her sister's brain. 

Dicky Jones was present during this passage-at-arms, which 
took place on the Thursday, after breakfast. He had just been 
enduring a battery of reproach on his own score ; various sins, 
great and small, being placed before him in glaring colours by 
his wife ; not the least heinous of which was his having arrived 
home from his pleasure-trip at the unseasonable hour of half 
after one o'clock in the morning. In retort he had intimated 
that others of the family could come in at that hour as well as 
himself; not to harm Alletha Rye, for he was a good-natured 
man, as people given to peccadilloes are apt to be ; but to 
make his own crime appear the less. And then it all came 
out ; and Mrs. Jones's ears were regaled with Alletha Rye's 
share in the doings at the interment. 

On this same Thursday, but very much later in the day, 



MR. BUTTERBY IN PRIVATE LIFE. 47 

Frank Greatoiex and the Reverend Mr. Ollivera departed from 
the city, having remained to collect together the papers and 
other effects belonging to the deceased. And this brings us 
(the night having passed, and a great portion of the ensuing 
day) to the opening of the chapter. 

Mr. Butterby sat in his parlour : one of two rooms he occu- 
pied on the ground-floor of a private house very near to a 
populous part of the city. He was not a sergeant of police ; 
he was not an inspector ; people did not know what he was. 
That he held sway at the police-station, and was a very frequent 
visitor to it, every one saw. But Mr. Butterby had been so 
long in the town that speculation, though rife enough at first 
upon the point, had ceased as to what special relations he 
might hold with the law. When any one wanted important 
assistance, he could, if he chose, apply to Mr. Butterby, instead 
of to the regular inspector ; and, to the mind of the sanguine 
inquirer, that application appeared to constitute a promise of 
success. 

Mr. Butterby's parlour faced the street. Its one window, 
protected by shutters thrown back in the day, and by green 
dwarf blinds and a v/hite roller-blind inside, was not a very 
large one. Nevertheless, I\Ir. Butterby contrived to keep a 
tolerable look-out from it on those of his fellow citizens who 
might chance to pass. He generally had the white blinds 
drawn down to meet, within an inch, the top of the dwarf 
blind ; and from that inch of outlet, ]\Ir. Butterby, standing 
before the window, was fond of taking observations. It was 
an unpretending room, with a faded carpet ; a square table in 
the middle, a large bureau filled with papers in a corner ; some 
books in a case opposite, a pile of newspapers above it ; and 
a picture over the mantel-piece representing Eve offering the 
apple to Adam, 

Mr. Butterby sat by the fire at his tea, taking it thought- 
fully : dressed in an old green coat with short tails, of a fashion 
long gone by. It was Friday evening and nearly dark. He 
had been out on some business all the afternoon ; but his 
thoughts were not fixed on that, though it was of sufficient 
importance ; they rested on the circumstances attending the 
death of Mn Ollivera. 

Before the brother of the deceased had quitted the town, he 
had made an appointment with !Mr. Butterby, and came to it 
accompanied by Frank Greatorex ; the fly, conveying them to 



48 ROLAND YORKE. 

the station, waiting at the door. The purport of his visit was 
to impress upon that officer his full conviction that the death 
was not suicide, and to request that, if anything should arise 
to confirm his opinion, it might be followed up. 

" He was a good, pure-minded man ; he Avas calm, clear, 
practical in mind, of sound sense ; he was fond of his profes- 
sion, anxious to excel in it ; hopeful, earnest, and without a 
care in the world," urged the Reverend Mr. Ollivera, with 
emotion. " How, sir, 1 ask you, could such a man take away 
his own life ? " 

]\Ir. Butterby shook his head. It might be unlikely, he 
acknowledged ; but it was not impossible. 

" I tell you it is impossible," said Mr. Ollivera. " I hold a 
firm, positive conviction that my brother never died, or could 
have died, by his own hand : the certainty of it in my mind 
is so clear as to be like a revelation from heaven. Do you 
know what I did, sir ? I went to the grave at night after he 
was put into it, and read the burial service over him." 

" I saw you doing it," came the unexpected answer. " The 
surplice you wore was too long for you and covered your boots." 

" It belonged to a taller man than I am — the Reverend Mr. 
Yorke," the clergyman explained. " But now, sir, do you 
suppose I should have dared to hold that sacred service over 
a man who had wilfully destroyed himself?" 

" But instead of there being proof that he did not wilfully 
destroy himself, there's every proof that he did so," argued 
Mr. Butterby. 

"Every apparent proof, I admit that; but I know — I know 
that the proofs are in some way false ; not real." 

" The death was real ; the pistol was real ; the writing on 
the note-paper was real." 

" I know. I cannot pretend to tell you where the truth 
may be hidden ; I cannot see how or whence elucidation 
shall come. One suggestion I will make to you, Mr. Butterby : 
it is not clear to me that no person obtained access to the 
drawing-room after the departure of Mr. Bede Greatorex. I 
only mention this thought," concluded Mr. Ollivera, rising to 
close the interview ; for he had no time to prolong it. " Should 
you succeed in learning anything, address a communication 
to me, to the care of Greatorex and Greatorex." 

" Stop a moment," cried Mr. Butterby, as they were going 
out " Who holds the paper that was found on the table ? " 



MR. BUTTERBY IN PRIVATE LIFE. 49 

" I do," said Frank Greatorex. " Some of them would have 
had it destroyed ; Kene and my brother amongst others ; they 
could not bear to look at it. But I thought my father might 
like to see it first, and took possession of it," 

A smile crossed the lip of the agent. " Considering that the 
two gentlemen you mention are in the law, it doesn't say much 
for their forethought, to wish to destroy the only proof there 
may remain to us of any one else's being guilty." 

"But then, you know, they do not admit that any one else 
could have been guilty," replied Frank Greatorex. " At least 
my brother does not ; and Kene only looks upon it as a pos- 
sible case of insanity. Do you want to see the paper ? I have 
it in my pocket." 

" Perhaps you wouldn't mind leaving it with me for a day or 
two," said Mr. Butterby. " Fll forward it up safe to you when 
Fve done with it." 

Frank Greatorex took the paper from his pocket-book and 
handed it to the speaker. It was folded inside an envelope 
now. Mr. Butterby received it and attended his guests to the 
door, where the fly was waiting. 

■' You'll have to drive fast, Thompson," he said to the man. 
And Thompson, touching his hat to the officer, who was held 
in some awe by the city natives, whipped his horse into a 
canter. 

It was upon this interview that Mr. Butterby ruminated as 
he took his tea on the Friday evening. In his own opinion it 
was the most unreasonable thing in the world, that any one 
should throw doubt upon the verdict. Nothing but perversity. 
He judged it — and he was a keen-sighted man — to be in strict 
accordance with the facts, as given in evidence. Excepting 
perhaps in one particular. Had he been on the jury he should 
have held out for a verdict of insanity. 

" They are a set of bumble-heads at the best," soliloquized 
Mr. Butterby, respectfully alluding to the twelve men who had 
returned the verdict, as he took up his last piece of well- 
buttered pikelet. " Juries for the most part always are : if 
they have any brains they send them wool-gathering then. 
Hemming, the butterman, told me he did say something 
about insanity ; and he was foreman, too ; but the rest of them 
and the coroner wouldn't listen to it. It don't much matter, 
for he had burial-rites after all, poor fellow : but if I'd been 
them, I should have given him the benefit of the doubt," 

Roland Yorke. 4 



50 ROLAND YORKE. 

Arresting his observations to finish the pikelet, Mr. Butterby 
presently went on again. 

" It might have been insanity ; but as to the other suspicion, 
there's no grounds whatever for it on the face of things at 
present. If such are to be raised I shall have to set to work 
and hunt 'em up. Create 'em as it were. ' Don't spare 
money,' says that young clergyman last night v/hen he sat here ; 
' your expenses shall be reimbursed to you with interest.' As 
if I could make a case out of nothing ! I'm not a French 
Procureur-Imperial." 

Drinking his tea at a draught, Mr. Butterby tried the tea- 
pot, lest a drop might be left in it still, turning it nearly upside 
down in the process. The result was, that the lid opened and 
a shower of tea-leaves descended on the tray. 

" Bother ! " said Mr. Butterby, as he hastily put dov.-n the 
teapot, and went on with his argument. 

" There's something odd about the case, though, straight- 
forward as it seems ; and I've thought so from the first. That 
girl's dream, for example, which she sajs she had ; and her 
conduct at the grave. It was curious that Dicky Jones should 
just be looking on at her," added Mr. Butterby, slightly diverg- 
ing from the direct line of thought : " curious that Dicky 
should have come up then at all. First, Alletha Rye vows he 
didn't do it ; and, next, the parson vows it. Reverend Ollivera. 
Kene, too — but he points to insanity ; and now the young 
fellow, Francis Greatorex. Suppose I go over the case 
again?" 

Stretching out his hand, Mr. Butterby pulled the bell-rope, 
and a young servant came in. 

" Shut the shutters," said he. 

While this was in process, he took two candles from the 
mantel-piece, and lighted them. The girl went away with the 
tea-tray. He then unlocked his bureau, and from one of its 
pigeon-holes brought forth a few memoranda, which he studied 
in silence, one after the other. 

" The parson's right," he began presently. " If there is a 
loophole it's where he said — that somebody got into the room 
after the departure of Mr. Greatorex." 

Drawing his chair closer to the table on which the papers 
lay, Mr. Butterby began to sum up the case, striking his fore- 
fingers alternately on the table as each point came flowing 
from his tongue. Not that "flowing" is precisely the word 



MR. BUTTERBY IN PRIVATE LIFE. 51 

to employ, for his speech was slow and thoughtful, and the 
words fell with hesitation. 

" John Ollivera, counsel-at-law. He comes in on Saturday 
with the other barristers, ready for the 'sizes. Has a cause or 
two coming on, in which he expects to shine. Goes to former 
lodgings at Jones's, and shows himself as full of sense as usual; 
and he'd his full share of brains. Spends Saturday evening at 
jSIrs. Joliffe's, the colonel's widow ; is sweet, Mrs. Jones thinks, 
on one of the young ladies; thought so when he was down 
last October. Gets home at ten like a decent man, works at 
his papers till twelve, and goes to bed." 

•Sir. Butterby paused here, his fingers resting on the table. 
Giving a nod, as if his reflections were satisfactory to himself, 
he lifted his hands and began again. 

'•'Sunday. Attends public worship and takes the SacramiCnt. 
Thafs not like the act of one who knows he is on the eve of 
a bad deed. Attends again after breakfast, with the judges, 
and hears the sheriff's chaplain preach, (Not a bad sermon, 
as sermons go," critically pronounced Mr. Butterby in a 
parenthesis.) " Attends again in the afternoon to hear the 
anthem, the Miss Joliftes with him. Dines at Jones's at five, 
spends evening at Jolliffes'. Home early, and to bed." 

Once more the hands were lifted. Once more their owner 
paused in thought. Again he nodded and resumed. 

" Monday. Up before eight. Has his breakfast, and goes 
to the Nisi Prius Court. Stays there till past three in the 
afternoon, Xells Kene he must go out of court to keep an 
appointment that wasn't a particularly pleasant one, and goes 
out. Arrives at Jones's at half past four ; passes Mrs. Jones in 
that small back-hall of theirs ; she tells him he looks tired ; 
answers that he is tired and has a headache ; court was close. 
Goes up to his sitting-room and gets his papers about (papers 
found afterwards, on examination, to relate to cause coming on 
on Tuesday morning). Girl takes up his dinner ; eats it, gets 
to his papers again, and she fetches things away. Rings for 
his lamp early, quarter-past six may be, nearly daylight still ; 
while girl puts it on table, draws down blinds himself, as if 
in a hurry to be at work again. Close upon this ISIr. Bede 
Greatorex calls (good firm that, Greatorex and Greatorex," 
interspersed Mr. Butterby, with professional candour). " Bede 
Greatorex has come down from London (sent by old Greatorex) 
to confer with Ollivera on Tuesday's cause. Stays more than 



52 ROLAND YORKE. 

an hour. Makes an appointment for Tuesday morning. 
Jones's nephew, going upstairs at the time, hears them make 
it, and shows Mr. Bede Greatorex out. Might be half-past 
seven then, or two or three minutes over it ; call it half-past. 
Ollivera never seen again alive. Found dead next morning in 
arm-chair ; pistol fallen from right hand, shot penetrated heart. 
Same chair he had been sitting in when at his papers, but 
drawn now to corner of table. Alletha Rye finds him. Tells 
a cock-and-bull story of having been frightened by a dream. 
Dreamt he was in the sitting-room dead, and goes to see {she 
says) that he was not dead. Finds him dead, however, just as 
{s/ie says) she saw him in her dream. Servant rushes out for 
doctor, meets me, and I am first in the room. Doctor comes, 
Hurst ; Kene comes, Jones's nephew fetching him ; then Kene 
fetches Bede Greatorex. Doctor says death must have taken 
place previous evening not later than eight o'clock. Mrs. 
Jones says lamp couldn't have burnt much more than an hour : 
is positive it didn't exceed an hour and a half; but she's one 
of the positive ones at all times, and women's judgment is 
fallible. Now, let's stop a moment." 

Mr. Butterby put his hands one over the other, and looked 
down upon them, pausing before he spoke again. 

"It draws the matter into an uncommon small nutshell. 
When Bede Greatorex leaves at half-past seven, Ollivera is 
alive and well — as he and Jones's nephew both testify to — and, 
according to the evidence of the surgeon, and the indirect testi- 
mony of the oil in the lamp, he is dead by eight. If he did not 
draw the pistol on himself, somebody came in and shot him. 

"Did he draw it on himself? I say Yes. Coroner and 
jury say Yes. The public say Yes. Alletha Rye and the 
Reverend Ollivera say No. If we are all wrong — and I don't 
say but there's just a loophole of possibility — and those two 
are right, why then it was murder. And done with uncommon 
craftiness. Let's look at the writing. 

"Those high-class lawyers are not good for much in criminal 
cases, can't see an inch beyond their noses ; they don't practise 
at the Old Bailey," remarked Mr. Butterby, as he took from the 
papers before him the unfinished note found on Mr. Ollivera's 
table, the loan of which he had begged from Frank Greatorex, 
"The idea of their proposing to destroy this, because 'they 
couldn't bear to look at it ! ' Kene, too ; and Bede Greatorex 1 
t/iey might have known better. /'// take care of it now." 



MR. BUTTERBY in private LIFE, si 

Holding it close to one of the candles, the detective scanned 
it long and intentl}^, comparing the concluding words, uneven, 
blotted, as if written with an agitated hand, with the plain, 
straightforward characters of the lines that were undoubtedly 
Mr. OUivera's. When he did arrive at a conclusion it was a 
summary one, and he put down the paper with an emphatic 
thump. 

" May I be shot myself if I believe the two v/ritings is by the 
same hand ! " 

]\Ir. Butterby's surprise may plead excuse for his grammar. 
He had never, until this moment, doubted that the writing was 
all the act of one person. 

"I'll show this to an expert. People don't write the. same 
at all times ; they'll make their capitals quite differently in the 
same day, as any one wit'n any experience knows. But they 
don't often make their small letters different — neither do men 
trouble to alter the usual formation of their letters when about 
to shoot themselves ; the pen does its work then, sponta- 
neously ; naturally. These small letters are different, several 
of them, the r, the/, the e, the o, the d; all are as opposite as 
light and dark, and I dou'^ think the last was written by Mr. 
OUivera." 

It was a grave conclusion to come to ; somewhat startling 
even him, who was too much at home with crime and criminals 
to be startled easily. 

" Let's assume that it is so for a bit, and see how it works 
that way," resumed the officer. " We've all been mistaken, let's 
say; Ollivera did not shoot himself; some one goes in and 
shoots him. Was it man or woman ; was it an inmate of the 
house, or not an inmate? How came it to be done? what 
was the inciting cause? Was the pistol (lying on the table) 
taken up incidentally in the course of talking and fired by mis- 
adventure ? — Or did they get to quarrelling and the other shot 
him by malice?— Or was it a planned, deliberate murder, one 
stealing in to do it in cold blood ? Halt here, Jonas Butterby. 
The first — done by misadventure ? No ; if any honest man 
had so shot another, he'd be the first to run out and get a 
doctor to him. No. Disposed of. The second — done in 
malice during a quarrel ? Yes; might have been. The third — 
done of deliberate intention ? That would be the most likely 
of all, but for the fact of the pistol's having been Mr. OUivera's, 
and ready to hand. Looking at it in either of these two 



54 ROLAND YORKE. 

\iews, there's mystery. The last in regard to the point now 
mentioned ; the other in regard to the secrecy Nvith which the 
intruder must have got in. If that girl had been at her post 
indoors, as she ought to have been, with the chain up, it might 
never have happened," concluded Mr. Butterby, with acrimony. 

"Between half-past seven and eight? Needn't look much 
before or much beyond that hour. Girl says no one went 
into the house at all, except Jones's nephew and Jones's sister- 
in-law. Jones's nephew did not stay ; got his book and went 
off again at half-past seven, close on the heels of Bede 
Greatorex, Mr. Ollivera being then alive. Presentl}^, nearer 
eight, AUetha Rye goes in, for a pattern, she says, and she stays 
upstairs, according to the girl's statement, a quarter-of-an- 
hour." 

Mr. Butterby came to a sudden pause. He faced the fire 
now, and sat staring into it as if he were searching for what he 
could not see. 

" It does not take a quarter-of-an-hour to get a pattern. 7 
should say not. And there was her queer dream, too : or 
rather the queer assertion that she had a dream. Dreams, 
indeed ! — moonshine. Did she invent that dream as an excuse 
for having gone into the room to find him ? And then look 
at her persisting from the first that it was not suicide ! And her 
queer state of mind and manners since ! Dicky Jones told me 
last night when I met him by the hop-market, that she says 
she's haunted by Mr. Ollivera's spirit. Why should she be 
haunted, I wonder? I mean, why should she fancy it? It's 
odd ; very odd. The young woman, up to now; has always 
shown out sensible, in the short time this city has knov.-u her. 

"That Godfrey Pitman," resumed the speaker. "The way 
that man's name was brought up by the servant-girl was sudden. 
I should like to know who he is, and what his business might 
have been. He was in hiding ; that's what he was. Stopping 
indoors for a cold and relaxed throat ! No doubt ! But it 
does not follow that because he might have been in some 
trouble of his own, he had anything to do with the other 
business ; and, in fact, he couldn't have had, leaving by the 
five-o'clock train for Birmingham. So we'll dismiss ///;«. 

"And now for the result?" concluded Mr. Butterb)^, with 
great deliberation. " The result is that I feel incUned to think 
the young parson may be right in saying it was not suicide. 
What it teas, I can't yet make my mind up to give an opinion 



GODFREY PITiMAN. 55 

upon. Suppose I inquire into things a little in a quiet way? 
And, to begin with, I'll make a friendly call on Dicky Jones 
and madam. She w«n't answer anything that it does not 
please her to answer, and it never pleases her to be questioned. 
On the other hand, what she does choose to say is to be relied 
on, for she wouldn't tell a lie to save herself from hanging. As 
to Dicky — with that long tongue of his, he can be pumped 
dr}' at any time." 

Mn Butterby locked up his papers, changed his green coat 
for a black one, flattened down the coal on his fire, blew out 
the candles, took his hat, and departed. 



CHAPTER VI. 

GODFREY PITMAN. 



Mrs. Jones was in her parlour, doing nothing : with the excep- 
tion of dropping a tart observation from her lips occasionally. 
As the intelligent reader cannot have failed to observe, tartness 
was essentially an element of Mrs. Jones's nature ; when any- 
thing occurred to annoy her, its signs increased fourfold ; and 
something had just happened to annoy her exceedingly. 

The parlour was not large, but it was convenient, and well 
fitted up. A good fire burnt in the grate, throwing its ruddy 
light on the bright colours of the carpet and hearthrug ; on the 
small sidelDoard, with its array of glass, the horse-hair chairs, 
and the crimson cloth covering the table, and finally on Mrs. 
Jones herself and on her sister. 

Mrs. Jones sat at the table, some work before her, in the 
shape of sundry packages of hosiery, brought in from the shop 
to be examined, sorted, and put to rights. But she was not 
doing it. iSIiss Rye sat on the other side the table, stitching 
the seams of a gown by the light of the lamp. The shop was 
just closed. 

It had happened that Dicky Jones, about tea-time that 
evening, had strayed into his next-door neighbour's for a 
chat : a light interlude of this kind Dicky Jones was uncom- 
monly fond of Conversation fell, naturally enough, on the 
recent calamity in Mr. Jones's house : in fact, Mr. Jones found 
^his neighbour devouring the full account of it in the Friday 



56 ROLAND VORI^E. 

evening weekly newspaper, just damp from the press. A few 
minutes, and back went Dicky to his own parlour, full of news : 
the purport of which was that the lodger, Godfrey Pitman, who 
had been supposed to leave the house at half-past four, to take 
the Birmingham train, did not really leave it until some two or 
three hours later. 

It had not been Mrs. Jones if she had refrained from telling 
her husband to hold his tongue for a fool ; and of asking 
furthermore whether he had been drinking or dreaming. 
Upon which Dicky gave his authority. Their neighbour, 
Thomas Cause, had watched the lodger away later, with his 
own eyes. 

Mr. Cause, a quiet tradesman getting in years, was brought 
in, and a skirmish ensued. He asserted that he had seen the 
lodger leave the house and go up the street by lamplight, 
carrying his blue bag; and he persisted in the assertion, in 
spite of Mrs. Jones's opposition. She declared he had not seen 
anything of the sort ; that either his spectacles or the street 
lights had deceived him. And neither would give in to the 
other. 

Leaving matters in this unsatisfactory state, the neighbour 
went out again. Mrs. Jones exploded a little, and then had 
leisure to look at her sister, who had sat still and silent during 
the discussion. Still and silent she remained ; but her face had 
turned white, and her eyes wore a wild, frightened expression. 
" What on earth's the matter with you ? " demanded Mrs. 
Jones. 

" Nothing," said Miss Rye, taking up her work with nervous, 
trembling fingers. "Only I can't bear to hear it spoken of" 

" If Pitman didn't go away till later, that accounts for the 
tallow in his room," suddenly interposed Susan Marks, who, 
passing into the parlour, caught the thread of the matter in 
dispute. 

Mrs. Jones turned upon her. " Tallow ! " 
" I didn't see it till this afternoon," explained the girl. 
" With all the commotion there has been in the house, I never 
as much as opened the room-door till to-day since since Mr. 
Pitman went out of it. The first thing I see was the carpet 
covered with drops of tallow : and I know they were not there 
on the Monday afternoon. They're there still." 

Mrs. Jones went up at once, the maid following her. Sure 
enough the grease was there. The candlestick from which it 



GODFREY PITMAN. 57 

had no doubt dropped, stood on the wash-hand-stand at Mrs. 
Jones's elbow, as she wrathfully gazed at it. 

" He must have been hghting his candle sideways," remarked 
the girl to her mistress ; " or else have held it askew wliile 
hunting for something on the floor. If he stopped as late as 
old Cause says, why of course he'd need a candle." 

Mrs. Jones went down again, her temper by no means im- 
proved. She did not like to be deceived or treated as though 
she were nobody; neither did she choose that her house should 
be played with. If the lodger missed his train (as she now sup- 
posed he might have done) and came back to wait for a later, 
his duty was to have announced himself, and asked leave to 
stay. In spite, however, of the tallow and of Mr. Cause, she 
put little faith in the matter. Shortly after this there came a 
ring at the door, and Mr. Butterby's voice was heard in the 
passage. 

" Don't say anything to him about it," said I\Iiss Rye, hastily, 
in a low tone. 

" About what ? " demanded Mrs. Jones, aloud. 

"About that young man's not going away as soon as we 
thought he did. It's nothing to Butterby." 

There was no time for more. Mr. Butterby was shown in 
and came forward with a small present for INlrs. Jones. It was 
only a bunch of violets ; but Mrs. Jones, in spite of her tart- 
ness, was fond of flowers, and received them graciously : calling 
to Susan to bring a wine-glass of water. 

" I passed a chap at the top of High Street with a basketful ; 
he said he'd sold only two bunches all the evening, so I took 
a bunch," explained Mr. Butterby. " It was that gardener's 
man. Reed, who met with the accident and has been unfit for 
work since. Knowing you liked violets, Mrs. Jones, I thought 
I'd just call in with them." 

_ He sat down in the chair offered him, by the fire, putting 
his hat in the corner behind him. Miss Rye, after saluting 
him, had resumed work, and sat with her face turned to the 
table, partly away from him ; Mrs. Jones, on the other side of 
the table, faced him. 

" Where's Jones ? " asked Mr. Butterby. 

" Jones is off, as usual," replied Jones's wife. " No good to 
ask where he is after the shop's shut ; often not before it." 

It was an unlucky question, bringing back all the acrimony 
which the violets had partially dispelled. Mr. Butterby coughed, 



t;8 ROLAND YORKE. 

and began talking of recent events in a sociable, friendly 
manner, just as if he had been Mrs. Jones's brother, and never 
in his life heard of so rare an animal as a detective. 

" It's an uncommon annoying thing to have had happen in 
your house, Mrs. Jones ! As if it couldn't as well have taken 
place in anybody else's ! There's enough barristers lodging 
in the town at assize time, I hope. But there ! luck's every- 
thing. I'd have given five shillings out of my pocket to have 
stopped it." 

"So would I; for his sake as well as for mine," was Mrs. 
Jones's answer. And she seized one of the parcels of stockings 
and jerked off the string. 

" Have you had any more dreams, Miss Rye ? " 

" No," replied Miss Rye, holding her stitching closer to the 
light for a moment. " That one was enough." 

" Dreams are curious things ; not to be despised," observed 
crafty Mr. Butterby ; than whom not a man living despised 
dreams, as well as those who professed to have them, more 
than he. " But I've known so-called dreams to be nothing in 
the world but waking thoughts. Are you sure that one of 
yours was a dream, Miss Rye ? " 

"I would rather not talk of it, if you please," she said. 
" Talking cannot bring Mr. Ollivera back to life again." 

" What makes you persist in thinking he did not commit 
suicide?" 

Mr. Butterby had gradually edged his chair forward on the 
hearthrug, so as to obtain a side view of Miss Rye's face. 
Perhaps he was surprised, perhaps not, to see it suddenly flush, 
and then become deadly pale. 

"Just look here. Miss Rye. If he did not do it, somebody 
else did. And I should like to glean a little insight as to 
whether or not there are grounds for that new light, if there's 
any to be gleaned." 

" Why, what on earth ! are you taking up that crotchet, 
Butterby?" 

The interruption came from Mrs. Jones. That goes without 
saying, as the French say. Mr. Butterby turned to warm his 
hands at the blaze, speaking mildly enough to disarm an 
enemy. 

" Not I. I should like to show your sister that her suspicions 
are wrong : or she'll worry herself into a skeleton. See here : 
whatever happened, and however it happened, it must have 



GODFREY riTiMAN, 59 

been between half-past seven and eight. You were in the 
place part of that half-hour, Miss Rye, and heard nobody." 

" I have already said so." 

" Shut up in your room at the top of the house ; looking for 
— what was it ? — a parcel ? " 

"A pattern — the pattern of a sleeve. But I had to open 
parcels, for I could not find it, and stayed searching. It had 
slipped between one drawer and another at the back." 

"It must have taken you some time," remarked Mr. Butterby, 
keeping his face on the genial fire and his eyes on INIiss 
Rye. 

" I suppose it did. Susan says I was upstairs a quarter-of-an- 
hour, but I don't think it was so long as that. Eight o'clock 
struck after I got back to Mrs. Wilson's." 

INIr. Butterby paused. Miss Rye resumed after a minute. 

" I don't think any one could have come in legitimately 
Avithout my hearing them on the stairs. My room is not at 
the top of the house, it is on the same floor as Mrs. Jones's ; 
the back-room, immediately over the bedroom that was 
occupied by Mr. Ollivera. My door was open, and the 
drawers in which I was searching stood close to it. If 
any- 



" What d'ye mean by legitimately ? " interrupted Mr. Butterby, 
turning to take a full look at the speaker. 

*' Openly ; with the noise one usually makes in coming up- 
stairs. But if any one crept up secretly, of course I should 
not have heard it. Susan persists in declaring she never lost 
sight of the front door at all ; I don't believe her." 

" Nobody does believe her," snapped Mrs. Jones, with a fling 
at the socks. " She confesses now that she ran in twice or 
thrice to look at the fires." 

" Oh ! she does, does she," cried Mr. Butterby. " Leaving 
the door open, I suppose ? " 

" Leaving it to take care of itself. She says she shut it ; I say 
I know she didn't. Put it at the best, it was not fastened ; and 
anybody might have opened it and walked in that had a mind 
to, and robbed the house." 

The visitor, sitting so unobtrusively by the fire, thought he 
discerned a little glimmer of light breaking in upon the utter 
darkness. 

" But, as the house was not robbed, we must conclude nobody 
did come in," he observed. '* As to the verdict — I don't yet 



6o ROLAND YORKE. 

see any reason for Miss Rye's disputing it. Mr. Ollivera was 
a favourite, I suppose." 

The remark did not please Miss Rye. Her cheek flushed, 
her work fell, and she rose from her seat to turn on Mr. 
Butterby. 

" The verdict was a wrong verdict. Mr. Ollivera was a 
good and brave and just man. Never a better went out of the 
world." 

" If I don't believe you were in love with him ! " cried Mr. 
Butterby. 

" Perhaps I was," came the unexpected answer ; but the 
speaker seemed to be in too much agitation greatly to heed 
what she said. " It would not have hurt either him or me." 

Gathering her work, cotton, and scissors in her hand, she went 
out of the room. At the same moment there arrived an influx 
of female visitors, come, without ceremony, for an hour's chat 
with Mrs. Jones. Catching up his hat, Mr. Butterby dexterously 
slipped out and disappeared. 

The street was tolerably empty. He took up his position 
upon the pavement, and critically surveyed the house. As if 
he did not know all its aspects by heart ! Some few yards 
higher up, the dwellings of I^Ir. Cause and the linendraper 
alone intervening, there was a side opening, bearing the title of 
Bear Entry, which led into an obscure part of the town. By 
taking this, and executing a few turnings and windings, the 
railway station might be approached without touching on the 
more public thoroughfares. 

"Yes," said the police-agent to himself, calculating possi- 
bilities, " that's how it might have been done. Not that it was, 
though : I'm only putting it. A fellow might have slipped 
out of the door while that girl was in at her fires, cut down 
Bear Entry, doubled back again along Goose Lane, and so 
gained the rail." 

Turning briskly up the street, Mr. Butterby found himself 
face to face with Thomas Cause, who was standing within his 
own side-door. Exceedingly affable when it suited him to be 
so, he stopped to say good evening. 

*' How d'ye do, Cause ? A fine night, isn't it ? " 

"Lovely weather; shall pay for it later. Has she recovered 
her temper yet ? " continued Mr. Cause. " I saw you come 
out" 

Which was decidedly a rather mysterious addition to the 



I 



GODFREY PITMAN. 6i 

answer. Mr. Butterby naturally inquired what it might mean, 
and had his ears gratified with the story of Godfrey Pitman's 
later departure, and of ^Irs. Jones's angry disbelief in it. Never 
had those ears listened more keenly. 

" Are you sure it was the man ? " he asked cautiously. 

" If it wasn't him it was his ghost," said Mr. Cause. " I was 
standing here on the Monday night, just a step or two forwarder 
on the pavement, little thinking that a poor gentleman was 
shooting himself within a few yards of me, and saw a man come 
out of Jones's side-door. When he was close up, I knew him 
in a moment for the traveller, with the same blue bag in his 
hand, that I saw go in with Miss Rye on the previous Sunday 
week. He came out of the house cautiously, looked up the 
street and down the street, and then whisked past me as hard 
as he could walk, and went down Bear Entry. It seemed to 
me that he didn't care to be seen." 

But that detectives' hearts are too hard for emotion, this 
one's might have beaten a little faster as he listened. It was 
so exactly what he had been fancifully tracing to himself as the 
imaginary course of a guilty man. Stealing out of the house 
down Bear Entry, and so up to the railway station ! 

" What time was it ? " 

"■What time is it now?" returned Mr. Cause : and the other 
took out his watch. 

" Five-and-thirty minutes past seven." 

" Then it was as nigh the same time on Monday night, as nigh 
can be. I shut up my shop at the usual hour, and I'd stood 
here afterwards just about as long as I've stood here now. I like 
to take a breath of fresh air, Mr. Butterby, when the labours of 
the day are over." 

" Fresh air's good for all of us — when we can get it," said 
Mr. Butterby. " What sort of a looking man was this Godfrey 
Pitman ? " 

" A tall, well-grown man, with a lot of black hair about his 
face ; whiskers, and beard, and moustachios." 

" Young ? " 

" Thirty. Perhaps not so much. In reading the account in 
the Herald this evening, I saw Jones's folks gave evidence that 
he had left at half-past four to catch the Birmingham train. I told 
Jones it was a mistake, and he told his wife ; and didn't she fly 
out ! As if she need have put herself into a tantrum over that ! 
'twas a matter of no consequence." 



63 ROLAND YORKE. 

In common with the rest of the town, not the shghtest 
suspicion that the death was otherwise than that pronounced 
by the verdict, had been admitted by Mr. Cause. He went 
on enlarging on the grievance of Mrs. Jones's attack upon 
him. 

" She wouldn't hear a word : Jones fetched me in. She told 
me to my face that, between spectacles and the rays of street 
lamps, one, come to my age, was unable to distinguish black 
from white, round from square. She said I must have mistaken 
the gentleman, Mr. Greatorex, for Godfrey Pitman, or else 
Jones's nephew, both of them having gone out about the same 
time. I couldn't get a word in edgeways, I assure you, Mr. 
Butterby, and Dicky Jones can bear me out that I couldn't. 
Let it go ; 'tis of no moment ; I don't care to quarrel with my 
neighbours' wives." 

Mr. Butterby thought it was of great moment. He changed 
the conversation to something else with apparent carelessness, 
and then took a leisurely departure. Turning off at the top of 
High Street, he increased his pace, and went straight to the 
railway station. 

The most intelligent porter employed there was a man named 
Hall. It was his duty to be on the platform when trains were 
starting ; and as the detective had already cause to know, few 
who departed by them escaped his observation. The eight- 
o'clock train for London was on the point of departure. Mr. 
Butterby waited under some sheds until it had gone. 

Now for Hall, thought he. As if to echo the words, the first 
person to approach the sheds was Hall himself In a diplomatic 
way, Mr. Butterby, when he had made known his presence, 
began putting inquiries about a matter totally foreign to the one 
he had come upon. 

" By the way. Hall," he suddenly said, when the man thought 
he was done with, " there was a friend of mine Avent away last 
Monday evening, but I'm not sure by which train. I wonder 
if you happened to see him here ? A tall, well-grown man, with 
black beard and whiskers — about thirty." 

Hall considered, and shook his head. " I've no recollection 
of any one of that description, sir." 

" Had a blue bag in his hand. He might have gone by the 
five-o'clock train, or later. At eight, most likely ; this hour, you 
know." 

" Was he going to London, or the other way, sir ? " 



GODFREY PITMAN, 63 

'' Can't tell you. Try and recollect." 

'*i\Ionday? — Monday?" cried Hall, endeavouring to recall 
what he could. "I ought to remember that night, sir, the one 
of the calamity in High Street ; but the fact is, one day is so 
much like another here, it's hard to single out any in 
]\articular." 

■'•■ Were you on duty last Sunday week, in the afternoon ? " 

" Yes, sir ; it was my Sunday on." 

" The man I speak of arrived by train that afternoon, then. 
You must have seen him." 

"So I did," said the porter, suddenly. "Just the man you 
describe, sir; and I remember that it struck me I had seen his 
face somewhere before. It might have been only fancy; I had 
not much of a look at him ; he mixed with the other passengers, 
and went away quickly. I recollect the blue bag." 

" Just so ; all right. Now then. Hall : did you see him leave 
last Monday evening ? " 

" I never saw him, to my recollection, after the time of his 
arrival. Stop a bit. A blue bag ? AVhy, it was a blue bag 
that — And that was Monday evening, ■\^'ait an instant, sir. 
I'll fetch Bill." 

Leaving the detective to make the most of these detached 
sentences. Hall hurried off before he could be stopped. Mr. 
Butterby turned his face to the wall, and read the placards 
there. 

When Hall came back he had a lad with him. And possibly 
it might have been well for the lad's equanimity, that he was 
unconscious the spare man, studying the advertisements, was 
the renowned detective, Jonas Butterby. 

'' Now then," said Hall, "you tell this gentleman about your 
getting that there ticket. Bill." 

" "Twas last Monday evening," began the boy, thus enjoined, 
"and we was waiting to start the eight-o'clock train. In that 
there dark corner, I comes upon a gentleman set down upon 
the bench ; which he called to me, and says, ' This bag's 
heavy,' says he, ' and I don't care to carry it further than I can 
help, nor yet to leave it, for it's got val'able papers in it,' says 
he. ' If you'll go and get my ticket for me, third-class to 
Oxford, I'll give you sixpence,' says he : which I did, and took 
it to him," concluded the speaker; "and he gave me the 
sixpence." 

" Did he leave by the train ? " 



64 ROLAND YORKE, 

" Why, of course he did," was the reply. '' He got into the 
last thu'd-class on the train, him and his bag ; which was 
blue." 

" An old gentleman, with white hair, was it ? '' asked Mr. 
Butterby, carelessly. 

The boy's round eyes opened. " White hair ! Why, 'twas 
as black as ink. A.nd his beard, too. He warn't old ; he was 
young." 

Mr. Butterby walked home, ruminating ; stirred up his fire 
when he arrived, lighted his candles, for he had a habit of 
waiting on himself, and sat down. Sundry notes and bits of 
folded paper had been delivered for him from his cotifreres at 
the police-station, but he pushed them from him, never opening 
one of them. He did not even change his coat for the elegant 
green-tailed habit, economically adopted for home attire, and 
he was rather particular in doing so in general. No : Mr. 
Butterby's mind was ill at ease : not in the sense, be it under- 
stood, as applied to ordinary mortals ; but things were puzzling 
him. 

To give Mr. Butterby his due, he was sufficiently keen in 
judgment ; though he had occasionally made mistakes. Taking 
the surface of things only, he might have jumped to the con- 
clusion that a certain evil deed had been committed by Godfrey 
Pitman ; diving into them, and turning them about in his 
practised mind, he saw sufficient cause to make him doubt and 
hesitate. 

" The man's name's as much Pitman as mine is," quoth he, 
as he sat looking into the fire, a hand on each knee. "He 
arrives here on a Sunday, accosts a stranger he meets acciden- 
tally in turning out of the station, which happened to be 
AUetha Rye, and gets her to accommodate him with a week's 
private lodgings. Thought, she says, the house she was 
standing at was hers : and it's likely he did. The man was 
afraid of being seen, was flying from pursuit, and dare not risk 
the publicity of an inn. Stays in the house nine days, and never 
stirs out all that mortal time. Makes an excuse of a cold and 
relaxed throat for stopping in ; which loas an excuse," emphati- 
cally repeated the speaker. " Takes leave on the Monday at 
half-past four, and goes out to catch the Birmingham train. Is 
seen to go out. ^Vhat brought him back again ? " 

The question was not, apparently, easy to solve, for Mj" 
Butterby was a long while pondering it. 



GODFREY PITMAN, 65 

" He couldn't get back into the house through the windows 
or down the chimneys ; not in any vray but through the door. 
And the chances were that he might have been seen going in 
and coming out. No : don't think he went back to harm Mr. 
OUivera, Rather inclined to say his announced intention of 
starting by the five-o'clock train to Birmingham was a blind : 
he meant to go by the one at eight the other way, and went 
back to wait for it, afraid of hanging about the station itself or 
loitering in the streets It don't quite wash, either, that ; 
cliances were he might have been seen coming back," debated 
Mr. Butterby. 

" Wonder if he has anything to do with that little affair that 
has just turned up in Birmingham ? " resumed the speaker, 
glancing off to another thought. " Young man's wanted for 
that, George Winter : ;;//>/?/ have been this very self-same 
Godfrey Pitman ; and of course might not. Let's get on. 

"It don't stand to reason that he would come in any such 
way into a town and stop a whole week at the top of a house 
for the purpose of harming Mr. Ollivera Why, 'twas not till 
the Tuesday after Pitman was in, that the Joneses got the bar- 
risters letter saymg he was coming and would occupy his old 
rooms if they were vacant. No," decided Mr. Butterby ; 
" Pitman was in trouble on his own score, and his mysterious 
movements had reference to that : as I'm inclined to think." 

One prominent quality in I\Ir. Butterby was pertinacity. Let 
him take up an idea of his own accord, however faint it m.ight 
be, and it needed a great deal to get it out of him. An obstinate 
man was he in his self-conceit. Any one who knew Mr. 
Butterby well, and could have seen his thoughts as in a glass, 
might have known he would be slow to take up doubts against 
Godfrey Pitman, because he had already taken them up against 
another. 

" I don't like it," he presently resumed. " Look at it in the 
most favourable light, she knows something of the matter , more 
than she likes to be questioned about. Put the case, Jonas 
Butterby. Here's a sober, sensible, steady young woman, 
superior to half the women going, thinking only of her duties, 
nothing to conceal, open and cheerful as the day. That's 
what she was till this happened. And now? Goes home on 
the Monday night nigh on eleven o'clock, sits over the parlour- 
fire after other folks had gone to bed, 'thinking,' as she puts 
it. Goes up later ; can't sleep ; drops asleep towards morning, 

Roland Yorke. 5 



66 ROLAND YORKE. 

and dreams that Mr. Ollivera's dead. Gets flurried at in- 
quest (/ saw it, though others mightn't) ; tramps to see him 
buried, stands on the new-made grave, and tells the public he 
did not commit suicide. How does she know he didn't ? Mrs. 
Jones is ten times sharper-sighted, and she has no doubt about 
it. Says, next, to her sister in confidence (and Dicky repeats 
it to me as a bit of choice gossip) that she's haunted by 
Ollivera's spirit. 

" I don't like that," pursued Mr. Butterby, after a pause. 
" When folks are haunted by dead men's spirits — or fancy they 
are — it bodes a conscience not at rest in regard to the dead. 
To-night her face was pale and red by turns ; her fingers shook 
so that they had to clutch her work ; she won't talk of it ; she 
left the room to avoid me. And," continued Mr. Butterby, 
" she was the only one, so far as can be seen, that was for any 
length of time in the house between half-past seven and eight 
on Monday evening. A quarter-of-an-hour finding a sleeve- 
pattern ! 

" I don't say it was her ; I've not got as far as that yet, by a 
long way. I don't yet say it Avas not as the jury brought it in. 
But she v>'as in the house for that quai ter-of-an-hour, not 
accounting for her stay with any semblance of probability ; and 
I'm inclined to think that Godfrey Pitman mus/ have been out 
of it before the harm was done. Nevertheless, appearances are 
deceitful, deductions sometimes wrong, and while I keep a 
sharp eye on the lady, I shall look you up, Mr. Godfrey 
Pitman." 

One drawback against the " looking up " was — and Mr. 
Butterby felt conscious of it as he rose from his seat before the 
fire — that he had never seen Godfrey Pitman in his life ; and 
knew not whence he came nor whither he might have gone. 



.ND OF PROLOGUE. 



PART THE SECOND. 

CHAPTER I, 

IN THE OFFICE. 

The morning sun was shining on the house of Greatorcx and 
Greatorex. It was a busy day in April. London v.-as filling ; 
people were flocking to town ; the season was fairly inaugu- 
rated ; the law courts were full of hfe. 

The front door stood open ; the inner door, closed, could be 
pushed back at will. It bore a brass plate with the inscription, 
" Greatorex and Greatorex, Solicitors," and it had a habit, this 
inner door, of swinging-to upon clients' heels as they went out, 
for the spring was a sharp one. In the passage which the door 
closed in, was a room on either hand. The one on the left 
was inscribed outside, " Clerks' Office ; " that on the right, 
" Mr. Bede Greatorex." 

Mr. Bede Greatorex was in his room to-day : not his private 
room ; that lay bej'ond it. It was a moderately-sized apart- 
ment, the door in the middle, the fireplace opposite to it. On 
the right, was the desk of Mr. Brown ; opposite to it, stood Mr. 
Bede Greatorex's desk ; two longer desks ran along the walls 
towards the lower part of the room. At the one sat Mr. Hurst, 
a gentleman who had entered the house for improvement , at 
the one on the other side the door, in a line with Mr. Brown's, 
sat little Tenner, a paid clerk. A door at the end, marked 
" Private," opened into the private room of INIr. Bede Greatorex, 
where he held consultations with clients. 

And he generally sat there also. It was not very often that 
he came to his desk in the front office : but he chose to be 
there on occasions, and this was one of them. This side ot 
the house was understood to comprise the department of Mr^ 



6S ROLAND YORKE. 

Bede Greatorex ; some of the clients of the firm were his 
exclusively ; that is, when they came they saw him, not his 
father; and Mr, Brown was head-clerk and manager under 
him. 

Bede Greatorex (generally called, " Mr. Bede," in contradis- 
tinction to his father, Mr. Greatorex) sat looking over some 
papers taken out of his desk. Four years have gone by since 
you saw him last, reader ; for that prologue to the story v/ith 
its sad event, was not recently enacted. And the four years 
have aged him. His father was wont to tell him that he had 
not recovered from the grief of John OUivera's death ; Bede's 
private opinion was that he should never recover from it. They 
had been as close friends as brothers ; and Bede had been a 
changed man ever since. Apart from this grief and regret and 
the effect they might have left upon him, suspicion had also arisen 
lately that Bede Greatorex's health was failing : in short, there 
were indications, fancied or real, that the inward com.plaint of 
which his mother had died, might, unless great care were used, 
creep upon him. Bede had seen a physician, who would 
pronounce no very positiv^e opinion, but believed on the 
whole that the fears were without foundation ; certainly were 
premature. 

Another matter that tended to worry Mr. Bede Greatorex, 
arose in his domestic life. More than three years ago, he 
had married Miss Joliffe , and the world, given, you knov/, to 
interfere with every one's business and whisper scandal of the 
best of us, said that in marrying her, Bede Greatorex had 
married to sorrow. She was wilful as the wind ; spent his 
money right and left ; ran him into debt ; plunged into gaiety, 
show, whirl, all of which her husband hated : she was, in fact, a 
perfect exemplification of that undesirable but expressive term 
ihat threatens to become a househoUl word in our once sober 
land — "fast." Three parts of Bede's life — the life that lay 
outside his profession, was spent in striving to keep from his 
father the extravagance of his wife, and the sums of money he 
had to draw for personal expenditure. Bede had chivalric 
ideas upon the point ; he had made her his v/ife, and would 
jealously have guarded her failings from all : he would have 
denied, had he been questioned, that she had any. So far as 
lie was able he would indulge her whims and wishes ; but there 
was one of them that he could not and did not indulge : and 
that related to their dwelling-place. Bede had brought his wife 



IN THE OFFICE. 69 

to the home that had been his mother's, to be Its sole mistress 
in his late mother's place. It was a large, handsome residence, 
replete with every comfort ; but after a time Mrs. Bede Great orex 
grew discontented. She wanted to be in a more fashionable 
quarter; Hyde Park, Belgrave Square; anywhere amidst the 
great world. After their marriage Bede had taken her abroad ; 
and they remained so long there that Mr. Greatorex began to 
indulge a private opinion that Bede was never coming back 
again. They sojourned in Paris, in Switzerland, in Germany; 
and thougli, when they did at length return, Bede laughingly 
said he could not get Louisa home again, he had in point of 
fact been as ready to linger as she was. The Bedford-Square 
house had been done up beautifully, and for two years Mrs. 
Bede found no fault with it ; she had taken to do that lately, 
and it seemed to grow upon her like a mania. 

Upstairs now, now at this very moment, when her husband 
is poring over his work with bent brow, she is studying the 
advertisements of houses in the Times, almost inclined to go 
out and take one on her own account. A charming one, if the 
description might be trusted, was to be had in Park Lane, rent 
only six hundred a year, unfurnished. Money was as plentiful 
as sand upon the shore in the idea of Mrs. Bede Greatorex. 

You may go in and see her. Through the passages and the 
intervening door to the other house ; or you may make a more 
stately call at the private entrance. Up the wide staircase to 
the handsome landing, with its rich green carpet, its painted 
windows, its miniature conservatory, and its statues ; upon all 
of which the sun is shming as brighdy as it was shining diat 
other day four years ago, when Bede Greatorex came home, 
fresh from the unhappy scenes connected with the death of 
Mr. Ollivera. Enter^ first of all, a small apartment at the side 
called the study. 

At the table sat Jane Greatorex, grown into a damsel of 
tv/elve, but very small and childlike in appearance. She was 
writing French dictation. By her side, speaking in slow, dis- 
tinct tones, with a pure accent, sat a young lady, her face one 
of the sweetest it was ever man's lot to look upon. The hazel 
eyes were deep, honest, steady; the auburn hair lay lightly 
away from delicate and well-carved features ; the complexion 
was brilliant. A slender girl of middle height, and gentle, 
winning manners, whose simple morning dress of light cashmere 
§at well upon hc^. 



70 ROLAND YORKE. 

Surely that modest, thoughtful young woman could not be 
Mrs. Bede Greatorex ! No : you must wait yet an instant for 
an introduction to her. That is only Miss Jane's governess, a 
young lady who has recently entered on her duties, and is 
striving to perform them conscientiously. She is very patient, 
although the little girl is excessively tiresome, with a strong 
will of her own, and a decided objection to lessons of all kinds. 
She is the more patient because she remembers what a tiresome 
child she was herself, at that age, and the great amount of trouble 
she wilfully gave to her sister. 

*' No, Jane; it is not faciure ; it \?>factcur. We are speaking 
of a postman, you know. The two words are essentially dif- 
ferent ; different in meaning, spelUng, and sound. I explained 
this to you yesterday." 

" I don't like doing dictation. Miss Channing," came the 
response. 

" Go on, please. Le facteur, qui " 

" I'm tired to death. I know I've done a whole page." 

" You have done three lines. One of these days I will give 
you a whole page to do, and then you v.'ill know what a whole 
page is. Le facteur, qui arrive " 

J^Iiss Jane Greatorex suddenly took a large penful of ink, 
and shook it deliberately on the copy-book. Leaving them to 
the contest, in which, be very sure, the governess would con- 
quer, for she vvas calm, kind, and firm, we will go to an 
opposite room, one that Mrs. Bede called her boudoir. A 
charming room, papered and panelled in white and gold, its 
silken curtains of a soft rose-colour. But neither Mrs. Bede 
Greatorex, who sat there, nor her attire was in accordance with 
the room. 

And, to say the truth, she had only come down from her 
chamber to find something left in it the night before. It Avas 
her favourite morning room, but Mrs. Bede was not wont to 
take up her position in it until made up for the day. And that 
was not yet accomplished. Her dark hair was untidy, her face 
pale and pasty, her dressing-gown sat loosely upon her. Seeing 
the Times on the table, she had caught it up, and thrown herself 
back in a reclining chair, whilst she looked over the advertise- 
ments. Mrs. Bede Greatorex was tall and showy, and there 
her beauty ended. As Louisa Joliffe, she had exercised a 
charm of manner that fascmated many, but she kept it for rare 
occasions now; and, those, always public ones. She had ng 



IN THE OFFICE. 71 

children, and her whole being was wrapt in fashion, frivolity, 
and heartlessness. The graver duties of existence were wholly 
neglected by Louisa Greatorex : she seemed to live in ignorance 
that such things were. She never so much as glanced at the 
solemn thought that there must come a life after this life ; she 
never for a moment strove to work on for it, or to help another 
on the pilgrimage. Had she chosen to search her memory, it 
could not have returned to her the satisfaction of having ever 
performed a kind action. 

One litde specimen of her selfishness, her utter disregard to 
the claims and feelings of others, shall be given, for it occurred 
opportunely. As she sat, newspaper in hand, a young woman 
opened the door, and asked leave to speak to her. She was 
the lady's-maid, and, as Mrs. Bede looked at her, knitting 
her brow at the request, she saw tears stealing from the 
petitioning eyes. 

" Could you please allow me to go out, madam ? A messen- 
ger has come to say that my mother is taken suddenly worse : 
they think she is dying." 

"You can go when I am dressed," replied Mrs. Bede 
Greatorex. 

'•' Oh, madam, if you could allow me to go at once I I m.ay 
not be in time to see her. Eliza says she will take my place 
this morning, if you will permit her."' 

" You can go when I am dressed," was the reiterated, cold, 
and decisive answer. " You hear me, Tallet. Shut the 
door." And the maid withdrew, her face sad with its vain 
yearning. 

" She's always wanting to go out to her mother," harshly 
spoke Mrs. Bede Greatorex, as she settled herself to the news- 
paper again. 

"One; two; three; four, five. Five houses that seem 
admirable. Bede may say what he chooses ; in this miserable 
old house, with its professional varnish, we don't stay. I'll 
write at once for particulars," she added, going to her writing- 
table, a costly piece of furniture inlaid with mother-of-pearl. 

Writing for particulars took her about three-quarters of an 
hour, and then she went up to dress ; a ceremony that occupied 
neady an hour longer. The maid might then depart. And 
thus you have a specimen of the goodness of heart of Louisa 
Greatorex. 

put this has been a digression from the morning's business, 



72 ROLAND YORKE. 

and we must return to the husband, whose wish and will she 
would have liked to defy, and to the office where he sat. The 
room was very quiet ; nothing to be heard but the scratching 
of three pens ; Mr, Brown's, Mr. Hurst's, and Mr, Jenner's. 
This room was not entered indiscriminately by callers ; but the 
opposite door, inscribed " Clerks' Office," was perpetually on 
the swing. This room was a very sedate one : as a matter of 
course so in the presence of Mr Bede Greatorex ; and its 
head in his absence, Mr, Brown, allowed no opportunity for 
gossip. He was as efficient a clerk as Greatorex and Greatorex 
had ever possessed ; young yet : a tall, slender, silent man, 
devoted to his work. He had been about three years wiih 
them now. He wore a reddish-brown wig, and his whiskers 
were sandy. 

Bede Greatorex replaced some papers in his desk, and 
began opening another parchment. " Did you receive an 
answer yesterday, from Garnett's people, Mr, Hurst ? " he 
suddenly asked. 

"No, sir. I could not see them." 

" Their clerk came in last evening to say we should hear 
from them to-day," interposed Mr. Brown, looking up from 
his writing. 

It was in these moments — when the clerk's eyes unexpec- 
tedly met those of Mr. Bede Greatorex — that the latter would 
feel a disagreeable sensation shoot through him. Over and 
over again had it occurred . the first time when Mr. Brown had 
been in the office only a day- They were standing talking 
together on that occasion, when a sudden fancy took Bede that 
he had seen the man somewhere before. It was not to be 
called a recognition ; but a vague, uncertain, disagreeable feel- 
ing, which had its rise perhaps in its very uncertainty 

" Have we ever met before ? " Mr Bede Greatorex had 
questioned ; but Mr. Brown shook his head, and could not say. 
A hundred times since then, when he met the steady gaze of 
those remarkably light grey eyes (almost always bent on their 
w^ork), had Bede stealthily continued to study the man^ but 
the puzzle was always there. 

Mr. Brown's eyes and face were bent on his desk again to- 
day. His master, holding a sheet of parchment before him, 
as if to study it the better, suffered his gaze to wander and fix 
itself on Mr. Brown. The clerk, happening to glance up, 
C9,u^ht it- 



IN THE OFFICE. 73 

He was one of the most observant men living, quiet though 
he seemed, and could not fail to be aware that he was thus 
occasionally subjected to the scrutiny of his master — but he 
never appeared to see it. 

" Did 3'ou speak, sir ? " he asked, as if he had looked up to 
ask the question. 

" I was about to speak," said Mr, Bede Greatorex. 
" There's a new clerk coming in to-day to replace Parkinson. 
The hour fixed was nine o'clock, and now it is half-past ten. 
If this is a specimen of his habits of punctuality, I fear he will 
not do much good. You v.ill place him at j\Ir. Hurst's 
desk." 

" Very good, sir," replied Mr. Brown. The out-going clerk, 
Parkinson, had been at Jenner's desk. 

" I am going over to Westminster," continued Mr. Bede 
Greatorex, gathering up some papers. " If Garnett's people 
come in, they must wait for me. By the way, what about that 
deed " 

The words were cut short by a commotion. Some one was 
dashing in from the street in a desperate hurry, with a great 
deal of unnecessary noise. First the swing-door was violently 
pushed open, then the clerks' door was opened and banged ; 
now this one was sent back with a breeze ; and a tall, fine- 
looking young man came bustling in. — Mr. Roland Yorke. 

Not so very young, either. For more than seven years 
have elapsed since he was of age, and went careering off on a 
certain hopeful voyage to Port Natal, told of in history. He 
has changed since then. The overgrown young fellow of 
twenty-one, angular and awkward, has become quite a noble- 
looking man in his great strength and height. The face is a 
fine one, good-nature the predominating expression of the some- 
what rough features, which are pale and clear and healthy. 
The indecision that might once have been detected in his 
countenance has given place to earnestness now. Of absolute 
beauty of face, as many people count beauty, there is none ; 
but you v/ould scarcely pass him in the street without turning 
to look at him. In manner he is nearly as much of a boy as 
a man can be, just as he ever was, hasty, thoughtless, and 
impulsive. 

"I know I'm late," he began. "How d'ye do, ]\Ir. 
Greatorex ? " 

'■ Yesj you are late, Mr. Yorke," was the response of Mr. 



74 ROLAND YORKE. 

Bede Greatorex, submitting to the hearty hand-shake offered. 
" Nine was the stated hour." 

"It was the boat's fault," returned Roland, speaking with 
noisy independence, just as he might have done had he been 
a ten thousand a-year client of the house. " I went down to 
see Carrick off at eight o'clock, and if you'll believe me, the 
vessel never got away before ten. They were putting horses 
on board. Carrick says they'll lose their tide over yonder; 
but he didn't complain ; he's as easy as an old shoe. Since 
then I've had a pitch out of a hansom." 
" Indeed ! " 

" I told the fellow to drive like mad ; which he did ; and 
down went the horse, and I out upon him, and the man on 
me. There was no damage, only it all helped to hinder me. 
But I'm ready for work now, Mr. Greatorex. Which is to be 
my place ? " 

To witness a new clerk announcing himself in this loud, 
familiar sort of way, to see him grasp and shake the hand of 
Mr. Bede Greatorex : above all to hear him speak uncere- 
moniously of the Earl of Carrick, one of the house's noble 
clients, as if the two were hail-fellow-well-met, caused the 
whole office to look up, even work-absorbed Mr. Brown. 
Bede Greatorex indicated the appointed desk, 

"This is where you will be, by the side of Mr. Hurst, a 
gentleman who is with us for improvement. Mr. Brown, the 
manager in this room " — pointing to the clerk with the end of 
his pen — " will assign you your work. Mr. Hurst, Mr. Roland 
Yorke." 

Roland took his seat at once, as a preliminaiy step to 
industry. Mr. Bede Greatorex, saying no more, passed through 
to his private room, and after a minute was heard to go out. 

" What's to do ? " asked Roland. 

Mr. Brown was already giving him something ; a deed to be 
copied. He spoke a few instructions in concise, quiet tones, 
and Roland Yorke set to work. 

" What ink d'you call this ? " began Roland. 

" It is very good ink," said Mr. Brown. 

" It's uncommonly bad." 

" Have you ever been used to this kind of work, Mr. Yorke ? " 
inquired the manager, wondering whether the new-comer 
might be a qualified solicitor, brought to grief, or a gentleman- 
embryo just entering on his novitiaie. 



IN THE OFFICE. 75 

" Oh, haven't I ! " returned Mr. Yorke. " I was in a 
proctor's office once, where I was worked to death." 

" Then you'll soon find that to be good ink." 

" I had all the care of the office on my shoulders," resumed 
Roland, holding the pen in the air, and sitting back on his 
stool while he addressed Mr. Brown. "There were three of 
us in the place altogether, not counting the old proctor himself, 
and we had enough work for six. Well, circumstances occurred 
to take the other two out of the office, and I, who was left, had 
to do it all. What do you think of that ? " 

Mr. Bro\\Ti did not say what he thought. He was writing 
steadil}^, giving no encouragement for conversation. Mr. 
Hurst, his elbow on the desk, had his face turned to the 
speaker, surveying him at leisure. 

" I couldn't stand it ; I should have been in my grave in 
no time ; and so I thought I'd try a part of the world that 
might prove more desirable — Port Natal I say, what are you 
staring at?" 

This was to Mr. Hurst. The latter dropped his elbow as 
he answered. 

" I was looking whether you were much altered. You are : 
and yet I think I should have known you, after a bit, for 
Roland Yorke. When the name was mentioned I might have 
been at fault, had you not spoken of Lord Carrick." 

" He's my uncle," said Roland. " Who are you ? " 

"Joe Hurst, from Helstonleigh. Have you forgotten me? 
I was at the college school with your brothers, Gerald and 
Todd." 

Roland stared. He had not forgotten Josiah Hurst ; but 
the rather short and very broad young man by his side, bore 
no resemblance to the once slim college boy. Roland never 
doubted : he got off his stool, upsetting it in the process, 
heartily to shake the meeting hand. ]\Ir. Brown began to think 
the quiet of the office would not be greatly enhanced by its 
new inmate. 

" My goodness ! you are the first of the old fellows I've 
seen. And what are you, Hurst, — a lawyer ? " 

"Yes; I've passed. But the old doctor (at home, you 
know) won't buy me a practice, or let me set up for myself, 
or anything, until I've had some experience : and so I've come 
to Greatorex and Greatorex to get it," concluded I\Ir. Hurst, 
ruefully. 



76 ROLAND YORKE, 

" And who's he ? " continued Roland, pointing to Jtnner. 
" Greatorex said nothing about him." 

" He" was one of the smallest men ever seen, but he had a 
great amount of work in him. Mr. Hurst explained that 
Jenner was only a clerk, but a very efficient one. 

" He'd do twice the amount of work that I could, Yorke : 
I'm slow and sure ; Jenner is sure and quick. How long have 
you been home from Port Natal ? " 

" Don't bother about that now," said Roland. 

" Did you make your fortune out there ? " 

' What a senseless question ! If I'd made a fortune there, 
it stands to reason I should not have come into an office 
here." 

" How was I to know? You might have made a fortune 
and dissipated it ? " 

" Dissipated it in what?" cried Roland, with wide-open eyes. 
And to Mr. Hurst, who had gained some knowledge of what is 
called life, the look and the question bore earnest that Roland 
Yorke, in spite of his travelling experiences, was not very much 
tainted by the world and its ways. 

" Oh, in many things. Horse-racing, for instance." 

Roland threw back his head in the old emphatic maimer. 
" If ever I do make a fortune, Jos, — which appears about as 
likely as that Port Natal and Ireland should join hands and 
have a v/altz together — I'll take care of it." 

Possibly the notion occurred to him that idleness was cer- 
tainly not the best way to acquire a fortune, for Roland tilted 
his stool straight, and began to work in earnest. When he had 
accomplished two lines, he took it to the manager. 

" Will this do, Mr. Brown ? I'm rather out of practice." 

Mr. Brown signified that it would do. He knew his busi- 
ness better than to give anything of much consequence to an 
untried clerk. 

"Are you related to Sir Richard Yorke?" he asked of 
Roland. 

" Yes, I am ; and I'm ashamed of him. Old Dick's my 
uncle, my late father's brother ; and his son and heir, young 
Dick, is my cousin. Old Dick is the greatest screw alive; 
he wouldn't help a fellow to save him from hanging. He's as 
poor as Carrick ; but I dcn't consider that any excuse for him ; 
his estate is mortgaged up to the neck " 

Mr Brown needed not the additional information, which 



IN THE OFFICE. 77 

Rclmd proffered so candidly. His nature had not in the least 
changed. Nay, perhaps the free-and-easy life at Port Natal, about 
which we may hear somewhat later, had only tended to render 
him less reticent than before, if that were possible. Greatorex 
and Greatorex were the confidential solicitors of Sir Richard 
Yorke, and Mr. Brown vras better acquainted than Roland 
with the baronet's finances. 

" I thought it must be so," remarked Mr. Brown. " I knew 
there was some connection between Sir Richard and Lord 
Carrick. Are you likely to remain long in our office ? " he 
questioned, inwardly wondering that Roland with two such 
puissant uncles should be there at all. 

'* I am likely to remain here for ever, for all I know. They 
are going to give me twenty shillings a week. I say, Mr. 
Bi-own, why do you wear a wig? " 

Doubtless Mr. Brown thought the question a tolerably 
pointed one upon so brief an acquaintance. He settled to his 
work again without answering it. A hint that the clerk, just 
come under his wing, might return and settle to his. It was 
not taken. 

" My hair is as thick as ever it was," siid Roland, giving his 
dark hair a push backwards. " I don't want a wig ; and you 
can't be so very much my senior ; six or seven years, perhaps. 
I am eight-and-twenty." 

"And I am three-and- thirty, sir. My hair came off in a 
fever a few years ago, and it has never grown again. Be so 
good as to get on with what you have to do, Mr. Yorke" 

Thus admonished, Roland obediently sought his place. And 
with renewed questions to Mr. Brov^-n, that came ringing out 
at tlie most unexpected moments ; with a few anecdotes of life 
at Port Natal with which he confidentially regaled Mr. Hurst ; 
with making the acquaintance of little Jenner, which Roland 
accomplished with great affability ; and with slight interludes 
of writing, a line here and a line there, the morning wore 
agreeably away. 



73 ROLAND YORKE. 

CHAPTER II. 

ARRIVING FROM PORT NATAL. 

Mr. Roland Yorke's emigration to Port Natal cannot be 
said to have turned out a success. He had gone off in high 
spirits, a chief cabin passenger, Lord Carrick having paid the 
forty pounds passage-money. He had carried fifty pounds 
with him, from the same good-natured source, to begin hfe 
with when he should land, a small but sufficient outfit, and a 
case of merchandise consisting of frying-pans. Seven years 
before, when Roland resolved to emigrate and run away from 
work at home, he became imbued with the conviction (whence 
derived, he scarcely knew, but it lay on his mind as a cer- 
tainty) that frying-pans formed the best and most staple article 
on which to commence trading at Port Natal, invariably laying 
the foundation of a fortune. Some friend of his, a l\Ir. 
Bagshaw, who had previously emigrated, had imparted this 
secret to him ; at least, Roland was impressed with the idea 
that he had done so ; an idea which nothing could shake. 
Frying-pans and fortune were associated together in his 
dreams. He stood out strongly for taking out forty dozen, but 
Lord Carrick declined to allow more than the miserable num- 
ber of four-and-twenty. " When ye see for ye'reself that there's 
a market out there for them, send me word, and I'll despatch 
loads to ye by the first steamer, me boy," said his lordship 
sensibly enough ; and Roland was fain to put up with the 
advice and the two dozen. He arrived at Port Natal, all 
youth and joy and buoyancy. Seen from the deck of the 
vessel, when she anchored in the beautiful harbour, Natal 
looked a very paradise. Chains of hills to the west of the fair 
town were dotted with charming houses and pleasure grounds ; 
and Roland landed fresh as a summer's morning and full of 
hope ; just as too many an emigrant from the dear old mother- 
country does land, at other places besides Natal. And he 
bought experience as they buy it. 

In the first place, Roland began life there as he had been 
accustomed to it in England ; that is, as a gentleman. In the 
second place there proved to be no special market for frying- 



ARRIVING FROM PORT NATAL. 79 

pans. That useful article might be bought in abundance, he 
found, when wanted, without bringing the newly-arrived supply 
into requisition. The frying-pans being thus left upon his 
hands, a dead weight, brought the first check to his hopes ; 
for he had relied upon them to inaugurate the great enter- 
prizes that had floated in rose-coloured visions through 
Roland's brain. He quitted the port town, Durban, and went 
to Maritzburg, fifty miles off, and then came back to Durban. 
Thrown upon his own resources (through failure of the 
frying-pans), Roland had leisure to look about him, for 
other fertile sources in which to embark his genius and energy, 
and lead him on to fortune. Such sources did not appear to 
be going begging ; or at least they did not come in Roland's 
way ; and meanwhile his money melted. Partly in foolish 
expenses on his own account, partly in helping sundry poor 
wights, distressed steerage passengers with whom he had made 
acquaintance on board (for Roland had brought out his good- 
nature with him), the money came to an end. One fine 
morning, Roland woke up from an idle dream, to find himself 
changing his last sovereign. It did not dismay him : all he 
said was : "I must set about money-making in earnest now." 

Of course the great problem was— how to do it. Roland 
Yorke made only one more of a very common experience ; 
and he had to encounter the usual rubs incidental to the pro- 
cess. He came to great grief and was reduced to a crust ; 
nay, to not knowing where the crust would come from. The 
frying-pans went first, disposed of literally for an old song. 
Some man who owned a shed had, for a consideration, housed 
the case that contained them, and they were eating their 
handles off. Roland's wardrobe went next ; and things came 
to the pass that Roland was not sure that he himself would 
not have to go after it. It came to one of two things — work 
or starvation. To do Roland justice, he was ready and 
willing to work ; but he knew no trade ; he had never done an 
hour's labour in his life, and there lay the difficulty of obtain- 
ing it. He would rush about from office to store, hunger 
giving him earnestness, from store to workshop, from workshop 
to bench, and say, Employ me. For the most part, the 
answer would be that he was not wanted ; the labour market 
was overstocked ; but if the application apppeared, by rare 
chance, likely to be entertained, and Roland was questioned 
as to his experience and capacity, rejection was sure to follow. 



Sq ROLAND YORKE. 

He was too honest, too deficient in tact, to say he had been 
accustomed to work when he had not : and the experience in 
copying to which he acknowledged somehow was never re- 
quired to be put to the proof. To hear RoLand relate what he 
had accomplished in this line at home, must have astonished 
the natives of Port Natal. 

Well, time went on ; and Roland went on with it, down and 
down and down. Years went on ; and one rainy day, when 
about four winters had waxed and waned from the date of his 
departure, Roland returned to England. He landed in St. 
Katherine's Docks, out at elbows and ninepence in his pocket : 
as an old friend of his, Mr. Galloway, had once prophesied he 
would land, if he lived to return at all. 

Mr. Roland Yorke had sailed for Port Natal as a first-class 
passenger ; he cam.e home in the steerage, paying twelve 
pounds for the passage, and working tliat out in part. From 
thence he made his way to Lord Carrick in Ireland, very much 
hke a bale of returned goods. 

The best account he gave of his travels to Lord Carrick, 
perhaps the only account he could give, was that he had been 
" knocking about." Luck had not been with him, he said ; 
and there really seemed to have been a good deal in that. 
To hear him narrate his adventures was something rich ; not 
consecutively ; he never did that ■ but his chance recollections 
were so frequent and diffuse, that a history of his career at 
Natal might have been compiled from them. The Earl would 
hold his sides, laughing at Roland's lamentations at the failure 
and sacrifice of his frying-pans, at his reminiscences in general. 
A life of adventure one week, a life of starvation the next. 
Roland said he had tried all kinds of things. He had served 
in stores ; at bars where liquor was dispensed ; he had hired 
himself as a waiter at half the hotels in Natal ; he had worked 
on the shore with the Zulu Kaffirs at lading and unlading 
vessels ; once, for a whole week, when he w^as very hard up, 
cr perhaps very low doran, he had cried hot potatoes in the 
streets. He had been a farm labourer and driven a waggon, 
pigs, and cattle. He had been sub-editor in a newspaper 
office, the Natal Mercury, and one unlucky day sent the 
journal out with half its letters printed upside down. He had 
hired himself out as chemist's assistant, and half ruined his 
master by his hopeless inability to distinguish between senna 
and tincture of laudanum. Occasionally he met with friends 



ARRIVING FROM PORT NATAL. Si 

wlio assisted him, and then Roland was at ease — for his pro- 
pensity to Hve as a gentleman was for ever cropping up. Up 
and down ; up and down ; fortune now smiling a little, but for 
the most part showing herself very grim, and frowning terribly. 
Roland had gone (as he called it) up country, and amidst other 
agreeable incidents came to a fight with the Kaffirs. He took 
out a licence, at a cost of thirty shillings, and opened a store 
for pickled pork, candles, and native leeches, the only articles 
he could get supphed him on trust. His fine personal appear- 
ance, ready address, evident education, and frank manners, 
obtained him a clerkship in the Commercial and Agricultural 
Bank, recently opened, and he was in so hopeless a maze with 
the books and the cash at the end of a week, that he was turned 
off without pay. Architecture was tried next. Roland sent 
in a plan as competitor for the erection of a public building ; 
and the drawing — which he had copied from a model, just as 
he used to crib in the college school at Helstonleigh — looked 
so well upon paper that the arbitrators were struck with admira- 
tion at the constructive talent displayed, until one of them 
made the discovery that there were no staircases and no room 
left to build them. So, that hope was abandoned for a less 
exalted one; and Roland was glad to become young man 
at a general store, where the work alternated between dis- 
pensing herrings and treacle (there called golden syrup) to 
customers over the counter, and taking out parcels in a wheel- 
barrow. 

But there was good in Roland. And a great deal of it too, 
in spite of his ill luck and his improvidence. The very fact of 
his remaining away four years, striving manfully with this un- 
satisfactory life of toil and starvation, proved it. The brown 
bread and pea-soup Mr. Galloway had foreseen he Avould be 
reduced to, was often longed for by Roland in vain. He put 
up with it all ; and not until every chance seemed to have 
failed, would he return home to tax his uncle, and to disappoint 
his mother. A sense of shame, of keen mortification, no 
doubt lay at the bottom of this feeling. He had been so 
sangume, as some of my readers may remember ; and as he, 
■Sitting one day on a roadside stone, towards the close of his stay 
m Natal, recalled ; so full of glowing visions in the old home, 
that his mother, the Lady Augusta Yorke, had caught their 
reflection. He had represented to his mother, aye, and 
believed it ; that Port Natal was a sort of El Dorado, where 

Roland Yorke. 6 



g2 ROLAND YORKE. 

energetic young men might quickly line their pockets, and 
return home millionaires. He had indulged visions and made 
magnificent promises on the strength of these, beginning with a 
case of diamonds to his mother, and ending — no one but 
Roland could have any conception where. Old debts were 
to be paid, friends regaled, enemies made to eat humble-pie. 
Mr. Galloway was to be passed in the street by INIr. Roland 
Yorke, the millionaire ; the Reverend William Yorke was to 
have the cold shoulder turned upon him. Arthur Channing 
was to be honoured ; Jenkins, the hard-working clerk, who had 
thought nothing of doing Roland's work as well as his own, 
was to be largely patronized. Within three months of his 
arrival in Port Natal, funds were to be despatched home to 
settle claims that might be standing against Roland in Helston- 
leigh. That there could be the slightest doubt of his coming 
back " worth millions," Roland never supposed ; he had talked 
of it everywhere — and talked faithfully. Poor Jenkins had 
long gone where worldly patronage could not follow him, but 
others had not. Roland remembered how his anticipations 
had so won upon his mother, that she went to bed and dreamt 
of driving about in a charming city, whose streets were paved 
with Malachite. 

And so, recalling these visions and promises, Roland, for 
very shame and disappointment, was not in a hurry to return, 
but rather lingered on in Port Natal, struggling manfully with 
his ill luck, as he called it. Pride and good feeling alike kept 
him there. To appear before Lady Augusta, poorer than 
he went out, would undoubtedly be a worse blow to her than 
the alternative which he (forgetting his height and weight) had 
laid before her : the one, he said, might happen if he did not 
get to Port Natal — riding as a jockey on Helstonleigh race- 
course, in a pink silk jacket and yellow breeches. 

No. He tried heartily with all his might and main ; tried 
it for four mortal years. Beyond a fev; lines he now and then 
sent home, in which he always said he was "well, happy, 
keeping straight, and getting on," but which never contained 
a request for home news, or an address to which it might be 
sent. Lady Augusta heard nothing. No one else heard. One 
letter, indeed, reached his bosom friend, Arthur Channing, 
which was burnt when read, as requested, and Arthur looked 
grieved for a month after. He had told Arthur the truth ; 
that he was not getting on ; but under an injunction oC 



Arriving from port natal. 83 

secrecy, and without giving any details. Beyond that, no news 
reached home of Roland. 

His fourth year at Port Natal was drawing to a close when 
illness seized him, and for the first time Roland felt as if he 
were losing heart. It was not serious illness ; only such as 
often attacks visitors to the country, and from which Roland's 
strength of frame, sound constitution, and good habits — for he 
had no bad ones, unless a great appetite might be called so — 
had hitherto preserved him. But, what with the wear and 
tear of his chequered life, — its uncertain fare, a good dinner to- 
day, dry bread to-morrow, and its harassing and continued 
disappointments, — Roland felt the illness as a calamity ; and he 
began to say to himself he could not make head against the 
tide any longer, and must get away from it. He might have 
to eat humble-pie on landing in England ; but humble-pie is 
never utterly repulsive to one of Roland Yorke's elastic tempera- 
ment. In a moment's impulse he went down to the ships and 
made the best bargain he could for returning home. He had 
been away more than four years, and never once, during that 
time, had he written home for money. 

And so, behold him, out at elbows, with ninepence in his 
pocket, but wonderfully improved in tone and physique, 
arriving in London early one rainy morning from Port Natal, 
and landing at the docks. 

The first thing he did was to divide the ninepence with one 
who was poorer than he ; the second was to get a cup of coffee 
and a slice of bread at a street coffee-stall ; the third was to 
hasten to Lord Carrick's tailor — and a tremendous walk it was, 
but that was nothing to Roland — and get rigged out in any 
second-hand suit of clothes returned on hand that might be 
decent. There ill news awaited him ; it was the time of year 
when Lord Carrick might, as a rule, be found in London ; but 
he had not come; he was, the tailor believed, in Ireland. 
Roland at once knew, as sure as though it had been told him, 
that his uncle was in some kind of pecuniary hot water. 
Borrowing the very smallest amount of money that would carry 
him to Ireland, he went oft" down the Thames in a return 
cattleboat that very day. 

Since that period, nearly three years, he had been almost 
equally '' knocking about," and experienced almost as many 
ups and downs in Ireland as at Port Natal. Sometimes living 
in clover with Lord Carrick, at others thrown on his own 



84 ROLAND YORKE. 

resources and getting on somehow. Lord Carrick had the will 
to help him, but not always the ability. Now and then it had 
happened that his lordship (who was really more improvident 
than his nephew, and had to take occasional flights to the 
Continent without a day's warning) was lost to society for a 
time ; even to Roland. Roland hired himself out as a sort of 
overlooker to some absentee's estate, but he could get no pay 
for it. This part of his career need not be traced. On the 
whole, he still strove to do something for himself as strenuously 
as he had striven at Port Natal ; did his best not to be a 
burthen to any one, even to Lord Carrick. 

To this end he came over to London, and presented himself 
one day before his late father's brother, Sir Richard Yorke, 
and boldly asked him if he could not " put him into some- 
thing." The request caused Sir Richard (an old gentleman 
with a fat, round face) to stare immensely ; he was very poor 
and very selfish, and had systematically held himself aloof from 
his brother's needy family, keeping them always at arm's-length. 
His son and heir had been content to do the same ; in truth, 
the cousins did not know each other by sight. Sir Richard's 
estate was worth four-thousand a year ; and as he was in the 
habit of living at the rate of six, it will be understood that he 
never had any money to spare. Neither had he patronage 
or influence of any sort. To be thus summarily applied to by 
a stalwart young man, who announced himself as his nephew, 
took the baronet unpleasantly by surprise ; and if he did not 
exactly turn Roland out of the house, his behaviour was 
equivalent to it. " I'll be shot if I ever go near him again," 
cried Roland. " I'd rather cry hot pies in Poplar." 

A day or two before this, in sauntering about parts of 
London least frequented by men of the higher class — for when 
we are very much dov/n in the world we don't exactly saunter 
about the region of St. James's, or the sunny side of Regent 
Street — Roland had accidentally met one of the steerage pas- 
sengers with whom he had voyaged home from Port Natal. 
Ever open-hearted, he had frank\y avowed the reason of his 
inability to treat his friend ; namely, his empty pockets. He 
was not sure, he added, that he should not have to take to 
crossing-sweeping for a living ; he had heard that people made 
fortunes at it. Upon this the steerage gentleman confided to 
him the intelligence that there was a first-rate opening in the 
hot-pie trade, doWn in Poplar, for an energetic young man with 



ARRIVING FROM PORT NATAL. 85 

a sonorous voice. Roland, being great in the latter gift, 
thought he might entertain it. 

Things were at a low ebb just then with Roland. Lord 
Carrick, as usual, v/as destitute of ready-money ; and Roland, 
desperately anxious though he was to get on of his own accord, 
was fain to write to his mother for a Uttle help. One cannot 
live upon air in London, however much that may be accom- 
plished at Port Natal. But the application was made at an 
inopportune moment. Every individual boy Lady Augusta 
possessed was then tugging at her purse-strings ; and she 
returned Roland a sharp ansv,-er, telling him he ought to be 
ashamed of himself for not helping her, now that he was the 
eldest, instead of wanting her to keep him, George, her first- 
born son, had died in India. 

" It's quite true," said Roland, reflectively, " I ought to be 
helping her. I wonder if Carrick could put me into anything, 
as old Dick won't do it. Once let me get a start, I'm bound 
to go on, and the mother should be the first to benefit by it." 

A short time after this, and when Roland was far more at 
his wits'-end for a shilling than he had ever been at Port Natal 
— for there he had no appearance to keep up, and could 
encamp out on the sand, here he couldn't — Lord Carrick 
arrived suddenly in London, in a little trouble as usual. Some 
warm-hearted friend had induced his good-natured lordship to 
accept a short bill, and afterwards treacherously left him to 
meet it. So Lord Carrick was again eti route for the Continent, 
until his nien of business, Greatorex and Greatorex, could 
arrange the affair for him by finding the money. Halting in 
London for a couple of days, to confer with them on that and 
other matters — for Lord Carrick's affairs were altogether com- 
plicated and could not be gone into in an hour — Roland seized 
the opportunity to prefer his application. And this brings us 
down to the present time. 

When under a cloud, and not quite certain that the streets 
v.'cre safe, the Earl was wont to eschew his hotel at the AVest- 
end, and put up at a private one in a more obscure part of 
London, Roland, having had notice of his arrival, clattered in 
to breakfast with him on the morning of the second da}', and 
forthwith entered on his petition to be put into something. 

" Anything for a start. Uncle Carrick," he urged. " No 
matter how low I begin : I'll soon go along swimmingly, once 
I get the start. I can't go about here, you know, with my 



86 ROLAND YORKE. 

elbows out, as I have over yonder. It's awful work getting 
a dinner only once a week. I've had thoughts of crying hot 
pies in Poplar." 

To judge by the breakfast Roland was eating, he had been 
a week without that meal as well as dinner. Lord Carrick, 
looking at the appetite with admiration, sat pulling his white 
whiskers in perplexity ; for the grey hair of seven years ago 
had become white now. His heart was ready to give Roland 
the post of Prime Minister, or any other trifling office, but he 
did not see his way to accomplishing it. 

"Me boy, there's only one thing I can do for ye just now," 
he said, after silently turning the matter about in all its bear- 
ings, and hearing the explanation of the Poplar project. " Ye 
know I must be off to-morrow by the early French steamer, 
and I can't go about looking after places to-day, even if I 
knew where they could be picked up, which I don't. I must 
leave ye to Greatorex and Greatorex." 

" What will they do ? " asked Roland. 

" You can come along with me there, and see." 

Accordingly, when the Earl of Carrick went forth to his 
interview that day with Mr. Greatorex, he presented Roland to 
him ; and simply told the old lawyer that he must put him in 
a way of doing something, until he. Lord Carrick, was in funds 
again. Candid as ever Roland could be, the Earl made no 
secret whatever of that gentleman's penniless condition, enlarg- 
ing on the fact that to go dinnerless, as a rule, could not be 
good for him, and that he should not exactly like to see him 
set up in the hot-pie line in Poplar. Mr. Greatorex, perhaps 
nearly as much taken aback as Sir Richard Yorke had been on a 
similar occasion, glanced at his son Bede, who was present, 
and hesitated. He did not refuse point-blank — as he might 
have done by almost any one else. Lord Carrick was a valu- 
able client, his business bringing in every year a good portion 
of feathers to the Greatorex nest, and old Mr. Greatorex was 
sensible of the fact. Still, he did not see what he could do 
for one who, like Roland, was in the somewhat anomalous 
position of being nephew to an earl and a baronet, but reduced 
to contemplate embarking in the hot-pie trade. 

" We might give him a stool in our office. Lord Carrick, for 
it happens that we are short of a clerk : and pay him — pay him 
• — twenty sniilings a week. As a temporary thing, of course." 

To one who has not had a dinner for days, twenty shillings 



ARRIVING FROM PORT NATAL. 87 

a week seems a fortune ; and Roland started up and grasped 
the elder lawyer's hand. 

" I'll earn it," he said, his voice and eyes beaming with 
gratitude. " I'll work for you till I drop." 

A[r. Greatorex smiled. " The work will not be very hard, 
]\Ir. Yorke ; writing, and going on errands occasionally. If 
you do come," he pointedly added, " you must be ready to 
perform anything you may be directed to do, just as an ordinary 
clerk would." 

" Ready and willing too," responded Roland. 

" We have room for a certain number of clerks only," pro- 
ceeded INIr. Greatorex, who was desirous that there should be 
no misunderstanding in the bargain ; " each one has his 
appointed work and must get through it. Can you copy 
deeds ? " 

" Can'^ I," unceremoniously replied Roland. " I was nearly 
worked to death with old Galloway, of Helstonleigh." 

" \\'ere you ever with him ? " cried Mr. Greatorex, in sur- 
prise, for ]\Ir. Galloway was known to him. 

•'' Yes, for years ; and part of the time had all the care of 
the office on my shoulders," was Roland's ready answer. 
" There was only Galloway then, beside myself, and /ie was 
not good for, much. Why ! the amount of copying I had to 
do was so great, I thought I should have dropped into my 
grave. Lord Carrick knows it." 

Lord Carrick did, in so far as that he had heard Roland 
repeatedly assert it, and nodded assent. ]\Ir. Greatorex 
thought the services of so experienced a clerk must be invalu- 
able to any house, and felt charmed to have secured them. 

And thus it arose that Roland Yorke was entering the office 
of Greatorex and Greatorex. He was to be a clerk there to all 
intents and purposes, just as he had been in the old days at 
Mr. Galloway's. And yet, when he entered that morning, after 
his summersault out of the hansom cab, with a five-pound note 
in his pocket that Lord Carrick had contrived to spare him, 
and unlimited credit at his lordship's tailor's, hatter's, and boot- 
maker's, Roland's buoyant heart and hopes were as radiant as 
if he had suddenly come into a fortune. 



88 ROLAND YORKE. 

CHAPTER III. 

UNEXPECTED MEETINGS. 

" You can go to your dinner, Mr. Yorke." 

The clocks were striking one, as Brown, the manager, gave 
the permission. Roland, to whom dinner was an agreeable 
interlude, especially under the circumstances of possessing 
money to pay for it, leaped off his stool, and caught up his hat. 

"Are you not coming, Hurst ?" 

Mr. Hurst shook his head. " Little Jenner goes now. I 
stay until he comes back." 

Little Jenner had been making his own preparations to go ; 
brushing his hat, drawing down his waistcoat, gingerly arrang- 
ing his mass of soft fair hair. He was remarkably small ; and 
these very small men are often very great dandies. Roland, 
who had shaken off the old pride in his rubs with the world, 
waited outside for him. 

" Jenner, d'you know of a good dining-place about here ? " 
he asked, as they stood together, looking like a giant and 
dwarf. 

The clerk hesitated. The place that he considered good 
enough for himself might not appear good to the nephew of Sir 
Richard Yorke. 

" I generally go to a house in Tottenham-Court Road, sir. 
It's a clean place, and the meat's excellent ; but one sees all 
kinds of people there, and you may not think it up to you." 

" Law, bless you ! " cried Roland. " When a fellow has 
knocked about for four years in the streets of Port Natal, he 
doesn't retain much ceremony about him. Let's go to it. Do 
you know of any lodgings to be let in these parts, Jenner?" he 
continued. " I shall get some as near to Greatorex's as I can. 
One does not want a three or four miles' dance night and 
morning." 

Jenner said he did not know of any, but vv-ould help Mn 
Yorke to look for some that evening if he liked. And they 
had turned into Tottenham-Court Road, when Jenner stopped 
to speak to some one he had met : a very dark little woman, 
who was bustling by with a black and white basket in her hand. 



UNEXPECTED MEETINGS. 89 

'* How d'ye do, Mrs. Jones ? How's Mr. Ollivera ? " 

"Now, I've not the time to stand bothering with you, 
Jenner," was the tart retort. " Call in any evening you like, 
as I've told you beibre ; but I'm up to my eyes in errands now." 

Roland Yorke, whose attention had, been attracted to some- 
thing in a shop-window, wheeled round at the voice, and stared 
at the speaker. Jenner had called her Mrs. Jones ; but Roland 
fully believed no person in the world except one could own 
that voice. A voice that struck on every chord of his memory, 
as connected with Helstonleigh. 

" It is Mrs. Jenkins ! " cried Roland, seizing the stranger's 
hands. "What on earth does he mean by calling you Mrs. 
Jones?" 

'"Ah," she groaned, *'I am Mrs. Jones, more's the pity. 
Let it pass now, jNIr. Yorke. I should have known you any- 
where." 

" You don't mean to say you are living in London ? " re- 
turned Roland. 

"Yes, I am. In Gower Street. Come and see me, Mr. 
Yorke ; Jenner will show you the house. Did you make your 
fortune at Port Natal ? You were always telling Jenkins, you 
know, that you^should." 

"And I thought it," said Roland, with emphasis; "but I 
had no luck, and it turned out a failure. Won't I come and 
see you ! I say, Mrs. Jenkins, do you remember the toasted 
muffins that Jenkins wouldn't eat?" 

Mrs. Jones nodded at the reminiscence. She went bustling 
on her way, and they v.-ent theirs. Roland for once was rather 
silent. Mingling with the satisfaction he experienced in meet- 
ing any one from Helstonleigh, especially one so associated 
with the old life as Mrs. Jenkins had been, came the thoughts 
of the past years ; his defeats and failures ; the mortification 
that invariably lay on his heart when he had to tell of what the 
years had brought him. He had now met two of the old 
people in one day ; Hurst and Mrs. Jones ; or, as Roland still 
called her, Mrs. Jenkins. Cords v."ould not have dragged 
Roland to Helstonleigh : his mother, with the rest of them at 
home, had come over to Ireland to spend part of the summer 
at Lord Carrick's, soon after Roland's return from Port Natal ; 
but he would not go to' see them in the old home city. With 
the exception of scraps of news learnt from Hurst that day, 
Roland knew nothing about Helstonleigh's later years. 



go ROLAND YORKE. 

" Look here, Jenner ! What brings her name Jones ? It 
used to be Jenkins." 

"I think I have heard that it was Jenkins once," repHed 
Jenner, reflectively. " She must have married Jones after 
Jenkins died. Did you know him ? " 

" Did I know him ? " echoed Roland, to whom the question 
sounded very superfluous. " I should just think I did know 
him. Why, for years he was chief clerk to Galloway, that can- 
tankerous old proctor I was with. Jenkins was as good a 
fellow as ever lived, meek and patient, and of course Mrs. J. 
put upon him. She wouldn't allow him to have the least will : 
he couldn't dress himself in a morning unless she chose to let 
him. Which she didn't always." 

" Not let him dress himself ? " 

*' It's true," affirmed Roland, diving into the old grievances. 
" Our office was in an awful state of work at that time ; and 
because Jenkins had a cough she'd lock up his boots to keep 
him at home. It wasn't his fault ; he'd have come in his coftin. 
Jones, whoever he may be, must have had the courage of a wolf 
to venture on her. Does he look like one ? " 

"I never saw him," said Jenner. "I think he's dead, 
too." 

" Couldn't stand it, I suppose ? My opinion is, it was her 
tongue took off poor Jenkins. He was as mild as milk. Not 
that she's a bad lot at bottom, mind you, Jenner. I wonder 
what brought her to London ? " 

" I don't know anything about her affairs," said Jenner. 
" The Reverend Henry William Ollivera has rooms in her 
house. And I go to see him now and then. That's all." 

" Who is the Reverend William Ollivera ? " 

" Curate of a parish close by. His brother, a barrister, had 
chambers in Lincoln's Inn, and I was his clerk. Four years 
ago he went the Oxford circuit, and met his death at Helston- 
leigh. It was a shocking affair, and happened in the Joneses' 
house. They lived at Helstonleigh then. Mrs. Jones's sister 
went in one morning and found him dead in his chair." 
" My goodness ! " cried Roland. " Was it a fit ? " 

" Worse than that. He took away his own life. And I have 
never been able to understand it from that hour to this^ for, as 
every one said, he was the most unlikely man living to do such 
a thing. The Greatorexes interested themselves to get me a 
fresh place, giving me some temporary work in their office. It 



UNEXPECTED MEETINGS. gt 

ended in my remaining with them. They find me useful, and 
pay me well. It's four years now, since it happened." 

"Just one year before I got home from Natal," casually re- 
marked Roland. 

" He sends for me sometimes," continued Mr. Jenner, pur- 
suing his own thoughts, which were running on the clergyman. 
" When any fresh idea occurs to him, he writes off for me, 
post haste ; and when I get there he puts all sorts of questions 
to me, about the old times in Lincoln's Inn. You see, he has 
always held that Mr. Ollivera did not commit suicide, and has 
ever since been trying to get evidence to prove it. The hope 
never seems to die out in him, or to be at rest ; it is as fresh 
as it was the day he first took it up." 

Roland felt a little puzzled. " Did Mr. Ollivera commit 
suicide, or didn't he ? Which do you mean ? " 

Jenner shook his head. " I think he did, unlikely though it 
seemed. All the circumstances proved it, and no one doubted 
it except the Reverend Mr. Ollivera. Bede Greatorex, who 
was the last person to see him alive, thinks there can be no 
doubt whatever about it. I heard him say it was just one of 
W^illiam Ollivera's crotchets, and not the first by a good many 
that he had taken up. The clergyman used to be for ever 
coming into the ofiice talking about it, saying should he do 
this, that, or the other, until Bede told him he couldn't have 
it ; it was too great an interruption to the business." 

" What has Bede Greatorex to do with it ? WHiy should 
Ollivera come to him ? " 

" Bede Greatorex has nearly as much to do with it as the 
clergyman. He and the two Olliveras were cousins. Bede 
Greatorex was awfully cut up at the death : he'd be glad to think 
there was doubt attending it ; but, as a sensible man, he can't 
think it. They buried Mr. Ollivera like a dog." 

" W' hat did they do that for ? " 

" The verdict was felo-de-se. Mr. Hurst can tell you all 
about it ; he was at Helstonleigh at the time : says he never 
in his hfe saw such a scene as the funeral. It was a moonlight 
night, and half the town was there." 

" I'll get it all out of him," quoth Roland, who had lost none 
of his propensity for indulging in gossip. 

"Don't ask him in the office," advised Jenner. "Brovrn 
would stop you at the first word. He never allows a syllable 
to be dropped on the subject. I asked him one day what it 



92 ROLAND YORKE. 

was to him, and he answered that it was not seemly to allude 
to the affair in the house, as Mr. Ollivera had been a connec- 
tion of the Greatorexes. My own idea is that Brown must 
have known something of it at the time, and does not Uke it 
mentioned on his own score," confidentially added little Jenner, 
who was of a shrewd turn of mind. "I once saw him change 
colour over it." 

"Who is Brown?" questioned Roland. 

" That's vcioxe than I can say," was the reply. *' He's an 
uncommonly efficient clerk ; but, once out of the office, he 
keeps himself to himself, and makes friends with none of us. 
Here we are, sir." 

The eating-house, however unsuited it might be to one hold- 
ing his own as the nephew of an English baronet, to say 
nothing of an Irish peer, was v/elcome as sun in harvest to 
hungry Roland. He ordered a magnificent dinner, off-hand : 
changed his five-pound note to pay for it, and gave a shilling 
to the man who waited on them. Little Jenner went out with 
his face beaming. 

"We must make the best of our way back, Mr. Yorke. 
Time's up." 

" Oh, is it, though," cried Roland. " I'm not going back yet. 
I shall take a turn round to see Mrs. Jenkins ; there are five 
hundred tilings I v/ant to ask her." 

One can only be civil to a man who has just treated one to 
a good dinner, and Jenner did not like to tell Roland point- 
blank that he had better not go anywhere except to the office. 

" They are awfully strict about time in our place," cried he ; 
"and we are busy just now. I must make haste back, sir." 

"All right," said easy Roland. " Say I am coming." 

His long legs went flying off in the direction of Gower Street, 
Jenner having given him instructions how to find it ; and he 
burst in upon Mrs. Jones in her sitting-room without the least 
ceremony, very much as he would do in the old days when she 
was Mrs. Jenkms. Mrs. Jones had been for some time now 
given to wishing that she had not changed her name. Doing 
very well as the widow Jenkins, years ago, in her little hosier's 
sliop in High Street, Helstonleigh, what was her mortification to 
find one day that the handsome house next door, with its plate- 
glass windows, had been opened as another hosier's by a Mr. 
Richard Jones. Would customers continue to patronize her, 
when that imposing shop next door was staring them in the 



UNEXPECTED MEETINGS. 93 

face ? The widow Jenkins feared not ; and fretted herself to 
fjdule-strings. 

']"he fear might have had no foundation : the show kept up 
at the adjoining house was perhaps artificial rather than real. 
Richard Jones (whom the city had already begun to designate 
as Dicky) turned out to be of a sociable nature. He made 
her acquaintance whether she would or no, and suddenly pro- 
posed that she should unite the two businesses by making her- 
self, and her connection, over to him. Mrs. Jenkins's first 
impulse was to throw at his head the nearest parcel that came 
to hand. Familiarity with an idea, however, sometimes recon- 
ciles its worst opponent to it ; as at length it reconciled Mrs. 
Jenkins to this one. To give her her due, she took no account 
whatever of Mr. Jones in the matter; he went for nothing; a 
waste bale flung in to make weight; she should rule him just 
as she had ruled Jenkins ; her sole temptation was the flourish- 
ing shop, and the well-furnished house. So Mrs. Jenkins ex- 
changed her name for that of Jones, and removed, bag and 
baggage; resigning the inferior home that had so long sheltered 
her. It was close upon this, that one of the barristers, coming 
in to the summer assizes at Heistonleigh, took apartments at 
Mrs. Jones's. - That was Mr. Ollivera : and in the following 
March, when he came again, occurred his tragical ending. 

Before this, long before it, Mrs. Jones had come to realize 
the truth of the homely proverb. All is not gold that glitters. 
Mr. Jones's connection did not prove to be extensive ; far from 
it ; the imposing stock turned out to be three parts dummies ; 
and she grew to believe — to see — that his motive in marrying 
her had been to uphold his newly-established business with the 
aid of her old customers. The knowledge did not tend to 
improve her naturally tart disposition ; neither did the fact 
that her husband took a great deal of pleasure abroad, spent 
money recklessly, and left her to do all the work. ]\Ir. Jones's 
debts came out, one after the other; more than could be paid; 
and one morning some men of the law quietly took possession 
of the effects. Things had come to a crisis. Mr. Jones, after 
battling out affairs with the bankruptcy commissioner, started 
for America. His wife went off to London. Certain money, 
her own past savings, she had been wise enough to secure for 
her separate use, and that could not be touched. A\'ith a 
portion of it she bought-in some of the furniture, and set up a'^ 
a lodginghouse-keeper in Gower Street. 



64 ROLAND VORKE. 

Had Roland Yorke ever seen the parlour at Helstonle'ig^i 
(which the reader had the satisfaction of once entering with 
Mr. Butterby), he might almost have thought this the same 
room. The red carpet on the floor, the small book-shelves, 
the mahogany sideboard with its array of glasses, the horse- 
hair chairs, the red cloth on the centre table, all had been 
transplanted to London. When Roland bustled in, he found 
Mrs. Jones knitting away at lambs'-wool socks, as if for her 
life. In her leisure intervals, she did this for sale, and realized 
a very fair profit by it. 

" Now then," said Roland, unceremoniously stirring up 
the fire, and making himself at home, as he liked to do 
wherever he might be : " I want to know all about every- 
body." 

Mrs. Jones turned her chair tov/ards him with a jerk ; and 
Roland put question after question about the old city, which 
he had so abruptly quitted more than seven years ago. It 
may be that Mrs. Jones recognized in him a sort of fellow- 
sufferer. Neither of them cared to see Helstonleigh again, 
unless under more propitious auspices than the present. Any 
way, she was gracious to Roland, and gave him information as 
fast as he asked for it, repeating some things he had heard 
before. He persisted in calling her Mrs. Jenkins, saying it 
came more natural than the other name. 

Mr. Channing was dead. His eldest son Hamish lived in 
London. Arthur was Mr. Galloway's right hand ; Tom was a 
clergyman, and just made a minor canon of the old cathedral; 
Charley Mrs. Jones knew nothing about, except that he was in 
India. The college school had a new master. Mr. Ketch 
was reposing in a damp green nook, side by side with old 
Jenkins the bedesman. Hamish Channing's bank had come 
to grief, Mrs. Jenkins did not know how. In the panic, she 
believed. 

"And that beautiful kinsman of mine, William Yorke, reigns 
at Hazeldon, and old Galloway is flourishing in his office, with 
his flaxen curls !" cried Roland, suddenly struck with a weighty 
sense of injustice. " The bad people get the luck of it in this 
world, Mrs. Jenkins ; the deserving ones go begging. Hamish 
Channing's bank come to grief; — bright Hamish ! And look 
at me ! — and you ! I never saw such a world as this, with its 
miserable ups and downs." 

"Ah," said Mrs. Jones, with a touch of her native tartness, 



UNEXPECTED MEETINGS. 9$ 

" it's good that there's another world to come after. We may 
find that a better one." 

The remote prospect did not appear to afford Roland any 
present satisfaction. He sat pulling his whiskers, moodily re- 
senting Fortune's blindness in regard to merit, and then sud- 
denly began upon his own affairs. 

"I say, Mrs. J." — a compromise between the two names, and 
serving for either — " I want a lodging. Couldn't you let me 
come here ? ''" 

She looked up briskly. " What sort of a lodging ? I mean 
as to position and price." 

" Oh, something comfortable,"" said Roland. 

Perhaps for old acquaintance' sake, perhaps because she had 
some apartments vacant, Mrs. Jones appeared to regard the 
proposition with no disfavour; and began to talk of her house's 
accommodation. 

"The rooms on the first floor are good and well furnished," 
she said. " When I was about it, Mr, Yorke, I thought I 
miglit as well have things nice as not ; one finds the return ; 
and the drawing-room floor naturally gets served the best. 
There's a piano in the front room, and the bedroom behind it 
is very comfortable." 

"Just the very thing for me," cried Roland, rising in excite- 
ment. " What's the rent ? " 

" They are let for a pound a week. Mr. — — " 

" That will do ; I'll pay it," said he, eagerly. " I don't play 
the piano myself, but it may be useful if 1 give a party. You'll 
cook for me ? " 

" Of course we'll cook," said Afrs. Jones. " But I was 
about to tell you that those rooms are let to a clergyman. If 
you " 

Roland had come to an anchor at the table, and the look of 
dismay on his face arrested Mrs. Jones's speech. " What's the 
matter ? " she asked. 

" Mrs. J., I couldn't give it ; I was forgetting. They are 
to pay me a pound a week at Greatorex's ; but I can't spend 
it all in lodgings, I'm afraid. There'll be other things 
wanted." 

" Other things ! " ejaculated Mrs. Jones. " I should think 
there would be other things. Food, and firing, and light, and^ 
wear and tear of clothes, and washing; and a hundred extras 
beside." 



96 ROLAND YORKE. 

Roland sat in perplexity. Ways and means seem to have 
contracted together. 

"Couldn't you let me one room? A room with a turn-up 
bedstead in it, Mrs. Jenkins, or something of that sort? 
Couldn't you take the pound a week, and do for me ? " 

" I don't know but I might make some such arrangement, 
and let you have the front parlour," she slowly said. " We've 
a Scripture reader in the back one." 

Roland started up impulsively to look at the front parlour, 
intending to take it, offhand. As they left the room, Roland 
saw a tall, fair, good-looking young woman, who stopped and 
asked some question of Mrs. Jones, which that lady answered 
sharply. 

" I have no time to talk about trifles now, Alletha." 

"Who's that?" cried Roland, as they entered the parlour: 
a small room with a dark paper and faded red curtains, 

" It's my sister, Mr. Yorke." 

*' I say, Mrs. J., this is a stunning room," exclaimed Roland, 
who was in that eager mood of his, when all things looked 
coiilem--de-rose. " Can I come in to-day ? " 

" You can come to-morrow, if we agree. That sofa lets down 
into a bedstead at night. You must not get into my debt, 
though, Mr. Yorke," she added, in the straightforward way 
that was habitual to her. " I couldn't afford it, and I tell you 
so beforehand." 

" I'll never do that," said Roland, earnestly. " I'll bring 
you home the pound every week, and then I shan't be tempted 
to change it. Look here "— taking two sovereigns from his 
pocket — " that's to steer on ahead with. Does she live here?" 
he added, going back to the subject of Miss Rye. " Alletha, 
do you call her ? what an odd name ! " 

"The name was a mistake of the parson's when she was 
christened. It was to have been AUethea. I've had her with 
me four or five years now. She is a dressmaker, Mr. Yorke, 
and works sometimes at home, and sometimes out." 

" She'd be uncommonly good-looking if she v/ere not such 
a shadow," commented Roland, with candour. 

Mrs. Jones gave her head a toss, as if the topic displeased 
her " Shadow, indeed ! Yes, and she's likely to be one. 
Never was any pig more obstinate than she." 
* " Pigs ! " cried Roland, with energy. " You should see the 
obstinacy of Natal pigs, Mrs. J. /have. Drove 'em too." 



UNEXPECTED MEETINGS. C)] 

"It couldn't equal hers," disputed Mrs. J., with intense 
resentment. "She is wedded to the memory of a runaway 
villain, Mr. Yorke, that's what she is ! A good opportunity 
presented itself to her lately of settling, but she wouldn't take 
it. She'd sooner fret out her life after hbn, than look upon an 
honest man. And a runaway too ; a man who disgraced him- 
self!" 

" What did he do?" asked curious Roland. 

"It's not very good to repeat," said Mrs. Jones, tartly. 
" She lived in Birmingham, our native place, till the mother 
died, and then she came to me at Plelstonleigh. First thing 
she tells me was, that she was engaged to be married to some 
young man in an office there, George Winter : and over she 
goes to Birmingham the next Christmas on a visit to her aunt, 
on purpose to meet him : stays there a week, and comes home 
again. Well, Mr. Yorke, this grand young man, this George 
Winter, about whom I had my doubts, though I'd never seen 
him, got into trouble before three months had gone by. He 
and a fellow-clerk did something wrong with the money, and 
Winter decamped." 

" I wonder if he went to Port Natal ? " mused Roland. '•' We 
had some queer people over there." 

" It doesn't much matter where he went," returned Mrs. 
Jones, hotly. " He did go, and he never came back, and he 
took AUetha's common sense away with him. What with him 
and what with the dreadful affair at our house of that poor INIn 
Ollivera, she has never since been herself. Both events hap- 
pened about the same time." 

Roland recalled what he had recently heard from Jenner 
regarding the death of the barrister, and felt a little at sea. 

" What was Ollivera to her ? " he asked. 

" What ! why, nothing," said Mrs. Jones. " And she's no 
better than a lunatic to have taken it as she did. Whether it's 
that, or whether it's pining after the other precious runaway, 
/ don't know, but one of the two's preying upon her. There's 
Mr. Ollivera 1" 

Roland went to the window. In the street, talking, stood 
a dark, small man, dressed as a clergyman, with a grave, but 
not unpleasant face, and sad, dark eyes. 

" Oh, that's Mr. Ollivera, is it ? " quoth Roland. " He looks 
another shadow." 

"And it is another case of obstinacy," rejoined Mrs. Jones, 

Roland Vorke. i 



9S ROLAND YORKE, 

" He has refused all along to believe that his brother com- 
mitted suicide ; you could as soon make him think the sun 
never shone in the sky. He comes to my parlour and talks 
to me about it by the hour together, note-case in hand, till 
A Hatha can't sit any longer, and goes rushing off with her work 
like any mad woman." 

"Why should she rush off? What harm does it do to 
her?" 

" I don't know : it's one of those puzzles I can't make out. 
His coming here was a curious thing, Mr. Yorke. One day I 
was standing at the front door, and saw a young clergyman 
passing. He looked at me, and stopped ; and I knew him for 
Henry OUivera, though we had only met at the time of the 
death. When I told him I had rooms to let, for it struck me 
that perhaps he might be able to recommend them, he looked 
out in that thoughtful, dreamy way he has (look at his eyes 
now, Mr. Yorke I), seeing nothing, I'm certain ; and then said 
he'd go up and look at them ; and up we went. Would you 
believe that he took them on the spot?" 

" What a brick ! " cried Roland, who was following Mrs. 
Jones very imperfectly. " I'll take this one."' 

" Alletha gave a cry when she heard he was coming, and said 
it was Fate. I asked what she meant by that, but she wouldn't 
open her lips further. He took possession of the rooms within 
the week ; and I say, Mr. Yorke, that, Fate or not Fate, he had 
but one object in coming — to get to the bottom of that past 
calamity. His poor mistaken mind is ever on the rack for 
light. It's like that search one reads of, after the philosopher's 
stone." 

Roland laughed. He was not very profound himself, but 
the philosopher's stone and Mrs. Jones seemed utterly at 
variance with each other. 

"It does," she said. "For there's no stone to be found in 
the one case, and no discovery to be made in the other, beyond 
what has been made already. I don't say this to the parson, 
Mr. Yorke ; I listen to him and humour him for the sake of 
his dead brother." 

"Well, I shan't bother you about dead people, Mrs. J., so 
you may let me the room." 

The bargain was not a difficult one to make. Roland agreed 
to every suggestion. He had fallen into good hands. What- 
ever might be Mrs. Jones's faults of manner and temper, she 



UNEXPECTED MEETINGS. 9<) 

was strictly just, regarding Roland's interests at least in an 
C(}ual degree with her own. 

" Do you know," said Roland, nursing his knee when the 
bargain was concluded, "I have never felt so much at home 
since I left Hclstonleigh, as I did just now by your fire, Mrs. 
J. ? I'm uncommonly glad I came here." 

He was genuine in what he said : indeed Roland could only 
be genuine always, too much so sometimes. Mrs. J. — as he 
called her — brought back so vividly the old home-life of his 
boyhood, now gone by for ever, that it was like being in 
Helstonleigh again, 

" My eldest brother, George, is dead," said Roland. "Gerald 
is grand with his chambers and his club, and is married 
besides, but I've not seen him. Tod is in the army : do you 
remember him ? An awful young scamp he was, his face all 
colours from fighting, and his clothes so torn that Lady Augusta 
used to threaten to send him to school without them. Where's 
your husband number two, Mrs. J. ? " 

" It's to be hoped he is w^here he will never come back from ; 
he went sailing off three years ago from Liverpool," she answered 
sharply; for, of all sore subjects, her second marriage was the 
worst. "Anyway, I have made myself and my goods secure 
from him." 

" Perhaps his at Port Natal, driving pigs. He'll find out 
what they are, if he is." 

Mr. Ollivera was turning towards the house. Roland 
opened the parlour door when he had passed it, to look after 
him. 

Some one else was there. Peering from a dark nook in the 
passage, her lips slightly parted, her eyes strained after the 
clergyman with a strange fear in their depths, stood Alledia 
Rye. Mr. Ollivera suddenly turned back, as though he had 
forgotten something, and she shrank out of sight. i\Irs. Jones 
introduced Roland. " Mr. Roland Yorke." 

Mr. Ollivera's face was thin ; his dark brown eyes shone with 
a flashing, restless, feverish light. Be very sure that when that 
peculiar light is seen, it betokens a mind ill at rest. The eyes 
fixed themselves on Roland : and perhaps there was something 
in the tall, fine form, the good-natured countenance, that touched 
a chord in Mr. Ollivera's memory. 

"Any relative of the Yorkes of Helstonleigh?" 

" I should think so," said Roland, " I am a Yorke of Helston- 



loo ROLAND YORKE. 

leigh. But I've not been there since I went to Port Natal, 
seven years ago. Do you know them, Mr. Ollivera ? " 

"I know a httle of the minor-canon, WilHam Yorke ; 
and " 

"Oh ! he !" curtly interrupted Roland, with a great amount 
of scorn. " He is a beauty to know." 

The remark, so like a flash of boyish resentment, excited a 
slight smile in Mr. Ollivera. 

"Bill Yorke showed himself a cur once in his life, and it's 
not I who's going to forget it. He would have cared for my 
telling him of it, too, had I come back with a few millions from 
Port Natal, and gone about Helstonleigh in my carriage and 
four." 

Mr. Ollivera said a few courteous words about hoping to 
improve Roland's acquaintance, and departed. Roland 
suddenly remembered his office, and tore away at full speed. 

Never slackening until he reached the house of Greatorex 
and Greatorex. There he very nearly knocked down a little 
girl v/ho had just come out from the private entrance. Roland 
turned to apologize ; but the words died on his lips, and he 
stood as one suddenly struck dumb. 

In the pretty young lady, one of two who were talking in the 
passage, and looked round at the commotion, Roland thought 
he recognized an old friend, now the wife of his cousin William 
Yorke. He bounded in and seized her hands. 

" You are Constance Channing ? " 

" No, " replied the young lady, with wondering eyes ; " I am 
Annabel." 

Mr. Roland Yorke's first movement was to take possession 
of the sweet face, and kiss it. Blushing, almost weeping, the 
young lady drew back against the wall. 

"How dare you? "she demanded, in astonished resentment. 
"Are you out of your mind, sir?" 

"Good gracious, Annabel, don't you know me? I am 3'our 
old playfellow, Roland Yorke." 

" Does that give you any right to insult me ? I might have 
known it was no one else," she added, in the moment's anger. 

" Why, Annabel, it was only done in great joy. I used to 
kiss you, you remember : you were a little mite then, and I 
was a big tease. Oh, I am. glad to see you ! I would rather 
have met you than all the rest of the world. You can't be 
angry with me. Shake hands and be friends." 



UNEXPECTED MEETINGS. joi 

To remain long at variance with Roland was one of the 
impossibilities of life. He possessed himself of Annabel 
Channing's hand and nearly shook it off. With his hearty 
words, and (may it be confessed, even of Annabel) tlie flattery 
of his praises and general admiration, Annabel's smiles 
broke forth. Roland's eyes seemed as if they would devour 
her. 

" I say, I never saw any one so pretty in all my life. Just 
what Constance used to be. I thought it was Constance, you 
know. Was she not mad, though, to go and forgive that 
miserable William Yorke ? " 

Standing near, having looked on with a smile of pity mingled 
with amusement, was a lady in fashionable attire, and a 
marvellous amount of hair on her head, 

" I should have known Roland Yorke anywhere," she said, 
holding out her hand. 

" Why, if I don't believe it's one of the Joliffes ! " 

"Hush, Roland," said Annabel, hastening to rebuke his 
freedom ; and her tone proved that she had nearly forgiven him 
on her own score. " This is Mrs. Bede Greatorex." 

" Formerly Louisa Joliffe," put in that lady. " Now do you 
know me ? " 

"I never met with so strange a thing," cried Roland. 
" That makes three — four — of the old Helstonleigh people I 
have met to-day. Hurst, Mrs. J., and now you two. I think 
there must be magic in it." 

"You must come and see me soon, Roland," said Mrs. 
Greatorex, as she went out. Miss Channing waited for the 
child, Jane Greatorex, who had run off in her wilful manner 
to her uncle Bede's office. Roland offered to fetch her. 

"Thank you," said Miss Channing. "Do you know his 
room ? " 

" Know it ! law bless you ! " cried Roland. " What do you 
suppose I am, Annabel ? Clerk to Greatorex and Greatorex." 

Her cheeks flushed with surprise. "Clerk to Greatorex and 
Greatorex ! I thought you went to Port Natal to make your 
fortune." 

" But I did not make it. It has been nothing but knocking 
about. Carrick is a trump, as he always was, but he's floored 
himself sometimes ; and that's his case now. If they had not 
given me a stool here, through his influence, I'm not sure but 
J should have gone into the hot-pie line." 



102 ROLAND YORKE. 

" The— what ? " 

" The hot-pie line ; crying them in the streets, you know, 
with a basket and a white apron, and a paper cap on. There's 
a fine opening for it down in Poplan" 

Miss Channing burst into laughter. 

" It would be nothing to a fellow who has been over there," 
avowed Roland, alluding to Port Natal. And then leaping to 
a widely different subject in his lightness, he said something 
that brought tears to her eyes, a tremor to her lips. 

" It was so good in the old days ; all us children together ; 
we were no better than children. And Mr. Channing is gone, 
I hear ! I am so sorry, Annabel ! " 

"Two years ago last February," she said in hushed tones. 
"We have just gone out of mourning for him. Mamma is in 
llie dear old house, and Arthur and Tom live with her. Will 
you please look for Jane, Mr. Yorke ? " 

" Now I vow ! " — burst forth Roland in a heat. " I won't 
stand that, you know. If ever you call me ' Mr. Yorke' again, 
I'll go back to Port Natal." 

She laughed a little pleasant laugh of embarrassment. 
" Please, I want my pupil, I cannot go myself into the offices 
to look for her." 

At that moment Jane Greatorex came dancing up, and was 
captured. Roland stood at the door to watch them away, 
exchanged a few light words with a clerk then entering, and 
finally bustled into the office. 

" Am I late ? " began Roland, with characteristic indiiference. 
" I'm very sorry, Mr. Brown. I was looking at some lodgings ; 
and I met an old friend or two. It all hindered me, but I'll 
soon make up for it." 

"You have been away two hours and a half, Mr. Yorke." 

"It's more, I think," said Roland. "I assure you I did my 
best to get back. You'll soon find what I can get througli, 
Mr. Brown," 

Mr, Brown made no reply whatever, Jenner was absent, 
but Hurst was at his post, writing, and the faint hum of voices 
in the adjoining room, betrayed that some client was holding 
conference with Mr. Bede Greatorex. 

Roland resumed his copying where he had left off, and 
wrote for a q::arter-of-an-hour without speaking. Unheard of 
diligence ! At the end of that time he looked up for a little 
relaijation. 



UNEXPECTED I\IEETINGS. 105 

" Hurst, where do you think I am gomg to lodge ? " 

" How should I know ? " responded Mr. Hurst. And 
Roland told him. 

"Jenner and I were going along Tottenham-Court Road, 
and met her," he resumed, after a short interlude of writing. 
"She looks twentj' years older." 

"That's the effect of her tongue," suggested Mr. Hurst. 

" In the old days down there, I'd as soon have gone to live 
in a Tartar's house as in hers. But weren't her teas and toasted 
muffins good ! Here, in this desert of a place — and it's more 
of a desert to me than Port Natal — to get into her house will 
seem like going home again." 

Mr. Brown, looking off his work to refer to a deed, took the 
opportunity to direct a glance at the opposite desk. Whether 
Roland took it to himself or not, for a couple of minutes he 
applied sedulously to writing. 

" I say, Hurst, what a row there is about that dead-and-gone 
llr. Ollivera ! " 

"Where's the row?" 

" Well, it seems to crop up everywhere. Jenner talked 
about it ; s/ie talked about it ; I hear that other I^Ir. Ollivera 
talks about it. You were in the thick of it, they say." 

Hurst nodded. "My father was the surgeon fetched to him 
when he was found dead, and had to give evidence at the 
inquest. I went to see him buried ; it 7i'as a scene. They 
stole a march on us, though." 

"Who did.?" 

" They let us all disperse, and then went and read the burial 
service over the grave; OlUvera the clergyman, and three or 
four others, Arthur Channing was one of them." 

" Arthur Channing ! " 

Had any close observer been in the office, he might have 
noticed that while Mr. Brown's eyes still sought his desk, his 
pen had ceased to work. His lips were slightly parted ; the 
tale evidently bore for him as great an interest as it did for the 
speakers— an interest he did not choose to betray. Had they 
been speaking loudly, he would have checked the conversation 
at once with an intimation that it could not concern any one : 
as they spoke in undertones, he listened at leisure. Mr. Hurst 
resumed. 

"Yes, Arthur Channing. The rumour ran that William 
Yorke had promised to be present, but declined at the last 



I04 fiOLAND YORKE. 

moment, and Arthur Channing voluntarily took his place out 
of sympathy with the dead man's brother." 

" Bravo, old Arthur ! he's the trump he always was. That's 
the Reverend Bill all over." 

" The Reverend Bill lent them his surplice. And there they 
stood, and secretly read the burial service over the poor fellow, 
just as the old Scotch covenanters held their secret services 
in caves. Altogether a great deal of romance encircled the 
affair, and some mystery. One Godfrey Pitman was mixed up 
in it." 

" Who was Godfrey Pitman ? " 

Hurst dipped his pen slowly into the ink. " No one ever 
knew. He was lodging in the house, and went away myste- 
riously the same evening. Helstonleigh said in joke that there 
must have been two Godfrey Pitmans. The people of the house 
swore through thick and thin that the real Godfrey Pitman left 
at half-past four and went away by rail at five ; others saw him 
leave the house at dark, and take the eight-o'clock train. It 
grew into a regular dispute." 

" But had Godfrey Pitman anything to do with Mr, 
Ollivera ? " 

"Not he." 

" Then where was the good of bringing him up ? " cried 
Roland. 

" I am only telling you of the different interests that v.-ere 
brought to bear upon it. It was an affair, that death ! " 

The entrance of Mr. Frank Greatorex broke up the colloquy, 
recalling the clerks to their work. But the attention of one of 
them had become so absorbed that it was with difficulty he 
could return to passing matters. 

And that one was Mr. Brown. 



CHAPTER IV. 

GOING INTO SOCIETY. 



The year was grovv'ing a little later ; the evenings were lengthen- 
ing, and the light of the setting sun, illumining the west, threw 
some of its brightness even on the streets apd houses of close, 
smoky London, 



GOING INTO SOCIETY. 105 

It shone on the person of the Reverend Henry William 01H- 
vera, as he sat at home, taking his frugal meal, a tea-dinner. 
The room was a good one, and well furnished in a plain way. 
The table had been drawn towards one of the windows, open 
to the hum of the street. Mr. Ollivera was of very simple 
habits, partly because he really cared little how he lived, partly 
because the scenes of distress and privation he met with daily 
in his ministrations read him a lesson that he was not slow to 
take to heart. How could he pamper himself with rich food, 
when so many within a stone's-throw were starving for want of 
bread ? His landlady, Mrs. Jones, gave him sound lectures on 
occasion, telling hi.m to his face that he was trying his best to 
break down. Sometimes she prepared tempting dinners in spite 
of him : a fowl, or some other luxury, and Mr. Ollivera smiled 
and did not say it was not enjoyed. His district was full of 
poor; poverty, vice, misery reigned, and would reign, in spite 
of what he could do. Some of the worst phases of London life 
were ever before him. The great problem, " What shall be 
done with these ? " arose to his mind day by day. He had 
his Scripture readers ; he had other help ; but destitution both 
of body and mind reared itself like a many-headed monster, 
defying all solution, all endeavour. Sometimes Mr. Ollivera 
did not come in to dinner at all, but later on would take a 
mutton-chop with his tea ; as he was doing now. 

Four years had elapsed since his brother's mysterious death 
(surely it may be called so !) and the conviction on the clergy- 
man's mind, that the verdict was wholly at variance with the 
facts, had not in the least abated. Nay, time had only served 
to strengthen it. Nothing else had strengthened it. No dis- 
covery had been made, no circumstance, however minute, had 
arisen to throw light upon it one way or the other. The hoped- 
for, looked-for communication from the police-agent, Butterby, 
had never come. In point of fact, Mr. Butterby, as regarded 
this case, had found himself altogether at sea. Godfrey Pitman 
did not turn up in response to the threatened " looking after ; " 
Miss Rye departed for London with her sister when affairs at 
the Joneses came to a crash ; and. If truth must be told, ]\Ir. 
Butterby veered round to his original opinion, that the verdict 
had been a correct one. Once, and once only, that renowned 
officer had presented himself at the house of Greatorex and 
Greatorex. Happening to be in London, he thought he would 
give them a call. But he brought no news. It was a few 



io6 ROLAND YORKE. 

weeks after the occurrence, and there might not have been time 
for any to arise. One thing he had requested — to retain posses- 
sion of the scrap of writing found on the table at the death. It 
might be useful to him, he said, for of course he should still 
keep his eyes open : and Mr. Greatorex readily acquiesced. 
Since then nothing whatever had been heard from Mr. Butterby, 
or from any other quarter ; but the sad facts were rarely out of 
the clergyman's mind; and the positive conviction, the expectU' 
tion that light would arise sooner or later, burnt within him 
with a ray sure and true as hope of heaven. 

Not of this, however, was Mr. Ollivera's mind filled this 
evening. His thoughts were running on the disheartening 
scenes of the day ; the difficult men and women he had tried 
to deal with — some of them meek and resigned, many hard and 
bad ; all wanting help for their sick bodies or neglected souls. 
One case in particular had interested him sadly. A man named 
Gisby, discovered shortly before, lay in a room, slowly dying. 
lie did not want help in kind, as so many did ; but of spiritual 
help none could be in greater need. Little by little, Mr. 
Ollivera learned his history. It appeared that the man had 
once been servant in the house of Kene, the Queen's counsel — 
Judge Kene now : he had been raised to the bench in the past 
year. During his service there, a silver mug disappeared ; 
circumstances seemed to point to Gisby as guilty, and he was 
discharged, getting, subsequently, other employment. 

But now, the man was not guilty — as he convinced Mr. 
Ollivera, and the suspicion appeared to have worked him a 
great deal of ill, and hardened him. On this day, when the 
clergyman sat by his bedside, reading and praying, he had 
turned a deaf ear. "Where's the use?'' he cried roughly. 
" Sir Thomas has always thought me guilty." It struck Mr. 
Ollivera that the man had greatly respected his master, had 
valued his good opinion, and craved for it still ; and the next 
morning this was confirmed. " You'll go to him when I'm 
dead, sir, and tell him, then, that I was not guilty ? I never 
touched the mug, or knew how or where it went." 

Returning home with these words ringing in his ears, Mr. 
Ollivera could not get the man out of his mind. So long as the 
sense of being wronged lay upon Gisby, so long would he encase 
himself in his indifference, and refuse to hear. " I must get 
Kene to go and see the man," decided Mr. Ollivera. " He 
rnust hear with his own ears, and see with his own eyes that he 



GOING INTO SOCIETY. 107 

was not guilty, and tell him so ; and then Gisby will come 
round. I wonder if Kene is back from circuit." 

Excessively tired with his day's work, for his frame was not 
of the strongest, Mr. Ollivera did not care to go out that 
evening to Sir Thomas Kene's distant residence on the chance 
of not finding him at home. And yet, if the judge had 
returned, there ought to be no time lost in communicating with 
him, for Gisby was daily getting nearer to death. " Bede 
Greatorex will be able to tell me," suddenly thought Mr. 
Ollivera, when his tea had long been over and twilight was 
setting in. " I'll send and ask him." 

Moving to his writing-table, he wrote a short note, reading it 
o\er before enclosing it in an envelope, 

" Dear Bede, 

"Can you tell me whether Sir Thomas Kene is in 
Tondon? I want particularly to see him as soon as possible, 
It is on a little matter connected with my parish work, 
" Truly yours, 

"William Ollivera." 

It was a latent thought that induced Mr. Ollivera to adu tne 
concluding sentence ; and the motive shall be told. He and 
Bede Greatorex had come to an issue twice upon the subject 
of his so persistently cherishing the notion that the now long- 
past death was anything but a suicide ; or rather, that he should 
pursue it. Bede heard so much of it from him that he grew 
vexed, and at length vowed he would listen to him no more. 
And Mr. Ollivera thought that if Bede fancied he wanted to 
see Sir Thomas Kene on that subject, he might refuse to 
answer hiin. 

Ringing the bell, he gave the note to the servant with a re- 
quest (preferred with an apology and an allusion to his own 
tired state, for he was one of those who are sensitively chary of 
giving any extra trouble) that it should be taken to Mr. Bede 
Greatorex, and an answer waited for. 

But when the girl got downstairs, there arose some slight 
difficulty ; she was engaged in a necessary household occupa- 
tion — ironing — and her mistress did not care that she should 
leave it. Miss Rye stood by with her things on, about to go 
out on some errand of her own. Ah me! these apparently 
trifling chances do not happen accidentally. 



io3 ROLAxND YORKE. 

" Can't you just step round to Bedford Square, with it, 
AUetha ? " asked Mrs, Jones. " It won't take you far out of 
your way." 

Miss Rye's silent answer — she seemed always silent now — 
vras to take up the note and go out with it. She knew the 
house, for she worked occasionally for Mrs, Bede Greatorex, 
and was passing to the private entrance when she met Frank 
Greatorex, coming out at the other door. He wished her 
good evening, and she told him her errand, showing the note 
directed to Bede. 

" He is in his office still," said Frank, throwing open the 
door for her, " Walk in. Mr. Brown, attend here, please." 

Miss Rye stepped into the room, which was lighted only by 
a shaded lamp on Mr. Brown's desk; and Frank Greatorex, 
closing the door, was gone again. Mr. Brown, at work as late 
as his master, came forward. 

" For Mr. Bede Greatorex," said Miss Rye, handing him the 
note. " I will wait " 

The words were broken off with a faint, sharp cry. A cry, 
low though it was, of surprise, of terror, of dismay. Both 
their faces blanched, they stood gazing at each other, she with 
strained eyes and drawn lips, he with a forced stillness on his 
features, that nevertheless told of inward emotion. 

" Oh ! " she breathed in her agitation. " Is it you ? 

Miss Rye had heard of Mr. Brown, the managing clerk in 
the department of Mr. Bede Greatorex. Jenner had mentioned 
him : Roland Yorke had commented on him and his wig. 
But that " Mr. Brown " should be the man now standing 
before her, she had never suspected; no, not in her wildest 
dreams. 

" Sit down, Miss Rye. You are faint." 

She put his arm from her, as he would have supported her 
to a seat, and staggered to one by herself. He followed, and 
stood by her in silence. 

" What are you called /lere ? " she began — and, it may be, 
that in the moment's agitation she forgot his assumed name, 
and really put it as a question, not in condemnation : — 
" Godfrey Pitman ? " 

Every instinct of terror the man possessed seemed to rise 
up within him at sound of the name. He glanced round tb.e 
room ; at the desks ; at the walls ; as if to assure himself that 
no ear was there. 



GOING INTO SOCIETY. 109 

*' Hush — sh — sli ! " with a prolonged note of cautio::. 
" Never breathe that name, here or elsewhere." 

" What if I were to ? To speak it aloud to all wlio ought to 
hear it?" 

" Why then you would bring a hornets' nest about heads 
that you little wot of Their sting might end in worse than 
death." 

" Death for you ? " 

" No : I should be the hangman." 

" What do you mean ? " 

"Listen, Miss Rye. I cannot tell you what I mean: and 
your better plan will be never to ask me. If " 

" Better for whom?" she interrupted. 

'•' For — v.elh for me, for one. The fact is, that certain in- 
terests relating to myself and others — certain reniinisce/ices of 
the past" he continued with very strong emphasis, " have 
become so complicated, so interwoven as it were one with the 
other, that we must in all probabihty stand or fall together." 

" I do not understand you." 

"I can scarcely expect that you should. But — were any 
proceeding on your part, any word, whether spoken by design 
or accident, to lead to that fall, you would rue it to the last 
hour of your life. That you can at least understand." 

The faintness was passing off, and Miss Rye rose, steadying 
herself against the railings of Mr. Hurst's desk. At that 
moment the inner door was unlatched, and the clerk, recalled 
to present duties, took the note from her unresisting hand. 

" For Mr. Bede Greatorex," he said aloud, glancing at the 
superscription. "I will give it to him." 

It was Mr. Bede Greatorex who came forth. He took the 
note, and glanced at Alletha. 

"Ah, Miss Rye ! Is it you?" 

" Our maid was busy, so I brought it down," she explained. 
" Mr. Ollivera is waiting for an answer." 

Bede Greatorex went back to his room, leaving the inter- 
vening door open. She sat and waited. Mr. Brown, whose 
work v/as in a hurry, wrote on steadily at his desk by the 
light of the shaded lamp. A minute or two, and Bede Greato- 
rex brought her a bit of paper twisted up, and showed her 
out himself 

With the errand she had come out to execute for herself 
gone clean out of her head, Alletha Rye returned home, her 



I id kOLAND YORKK. 

brain in a whirl. The streets she passed througli were crowded 
^vith all the bustle and jostle of London life ; but, had she been 
traversing an African desert, she could not have felt more 
entirely alone, licr lile that night lay within her : and it was 
< one of tumult. 

The note found Mr. Ollivera asleep : as twilight deepened, 
he had dropped, in sheer weariness, into an unconscious 
slumber. Untwisting the scrap of paper, he held it near a 
lighted candle and read the contents : — 

" Dear Henry, 

"Kene is back again, and is coming to us this 
evening ; we expect two or three friends. Louisa will be 
pleased if you can join us. Faithfully yours, 

"B. G." 

Mr. Ollivera eschewed gaiety of all kinds, parties included. 
Over and over again had he been fruitlessly invited to the 
grand dinners and soire'es given by Mrs. Bede Greatorex, until 
they left off asking him. " Two or three friends," he repeated 
as he put down the note. " I don't mind that, for I must see 
Kene." 

Dressing himself, he was on the point of setting out, when 
a messenger arrived to fetch him to a sick person ; so that it 
was half-past ten when he reached the house of Mr. Greatorex. 
And then, but for his mission to the judge, he would have left 
it again without entering the reception-rooms. 

Two or three friends ! Lining the wide staircase, crowding 
the handsome landing, the numerous reception-rooms, there 
they were ; a crowd of them. Women in the costly and fantastic 
toilettes of the present day ; men bowing and bending with 
their evening manners on. Mr. Ollivera resented the crowd as 
a personal wrong. 

" 'Two or three friends,' you wrote me word, Bede," he said 
reproachfully, seeing his cousin in a corner near the first door. 
" You know I do not like these things and never go to them." 

" On my word, Henry, I did not know it was going to be 
this cram," returned Bede Greatorex. "I thought we might 
be twenty, perhaps, all told." 

"How can you put up with this? Is it seemly, Bede — in 
this once staid house ? " 

"Seemly?" repeated Bede Greatorex. 



GOING INTO SOCIETY. lii 

"Forgive me, Bede. I was thinking of the dear old times 
under your mother's rule. The happy evenings, all hospitality 
and cheerfulness ; the chapter read at bedtime, when the few 
guests had departed. Friends were entertained then; bul 1 
don't know what you call these." 

Perhaps Bede Greatorex had never, amid all his provoca- 
tions, felt so tempted to avow the truth as now— that he 
abhorred it with his whole heart and soul. Henry ^^"illialn 
Ollivera could not hate and despise it more than he. As to 
the good old days of peace and sunshine thus recalled, a groan 
well-nigh burst from him, at their recollection. It was indeed 
a contrast between then and now : in more things than this. 
The world bore a new aspect for Bede Greatorex, and not a 
happier one. 

" Is Kene here, Bede ? " 

" Not yet. What is it that you want with him ? 

]\Ir. Ollivera gave a brief outline of the case; Bede left him 
in the middle of it to welcome fresh arrivals. Something 
fearfully fine loomed up, in pink silk and lace, and flashing 
emeralds. It was Mrs. Bede Greatorex. Her chignon was 
very high, and her gown was below her shoulder-blades. 
The modest young clergyman turned away at the sight, his 
cheeks flushing a dusky red. Not in this kind of society 
of late years, the curiosities of fashionable attire were new 
to him. 

"Is Bede mad?" he inwardly said, "or has he lost all 
control over his wife's actions ? " 

Some one else, not used to society, was staring with all the 
eyes of wonder he possessed. And this was Roland Yorke. 
Leaning against the wall in a new suit of dress-clothes, Avith a 
huge pair of white gloves on that would have been quite the 
proper thing at Port Natal, stood Roland. Mr. Ollivera, trying 
to get away from every one, ran against him. The t\^•o were 
great friends now, and Roland was in the habit of running up 
to Mr. Ollivera's drawing-room at will. 

"I say," began Roland, "this is rather strong, is it not?" 

" Do you mean the crowd ? " 

" I mean everything. Some of the girls and women lock as 
if they had forgotten to put their gowns on. 'Why do they dress 
in this way?" 

" Because it's the fashion, I suppose," replied Mr, Ollivera, 
drawing down the corners of his thin lips. 



113 ROLAND YORKE, 

" They must have taken the fashion from the Zulu Kaffirs," 
returned Roland. " When one has been knocked about amidst 
that savage lot — fought with 'em, too, men and women — one 
loses fastidiousness, Mr. Ollivera ; but I dotit think this is 
right." 

Mr. Ollivera intimated that there could not be a doubt it 
was all wrong. 

" Down in Helstonleigh, where I come from, they dress 
themselves decently," observed Roland, forgetting that his 
reminiscences of the place dated more than seven years back, 
and that fashion penetrates to all the strongholds of society, 
whether near or distant. "The girls there are lovely, too. 
Just look if they are not." 

Mr. Ollivera, in some slight surprise, followed the direction 
of the speaker's eyes, and saw a young lady sitting back in a 
corner ; her white evening dress, her banded hair, the soft flush 
on her delicate face, all as simple, and genuine, and modest as 
herself. 

" That's what the girls are in my native place, Mr. 
Ollivera." 

" Mrs. Bede Greatorex is a native of Helstonleigh, also," ob- 
served the clergyman, dryly. And for a moment Roland v.-as 
silent. The pink robe, the tower of hair, and the shoulder- 
blades were in full view just then. 

"No, she is not," cried he, triumphantly. "The Joliffe girls 
were born in barracks ; they only came amongst us when the 
old colonel settled down." 

" Who is the young lady ? " 

" Miss Channing. Her brotlier and I arc old chums. He 
is the grandest fellow living ; the most noble gentleman tlie 
world can show. He — why, if I don't believe you know him ! " 
broke off Roland, as a recollection of something he had been 
told flashed across his mind. 

" I !" returned Mr. Ollivera. 

"Was Arthur Channing not at a — a certain night funeral?" 
asked Roland, dropping his voice out of delicacy. '' You know. 
When that precious cousin of mine. Bill Yorke, lent you his 
surplice." 

" Yes, yes," said Mr. Ollivera, hastily ; " I had forgotten the 
name. And so that is Arthur Channing's sister ! " 

"She is governess to that provoking little wretch, Jane 
Greatorex," said polite Roland, forgetting in his turn that he 



GOING INTO SOCIETY. 113 

was speaking of his listener's cousin, "and she ought to be a 
queen. She ought, Mr. Ollivera, and you would say so if 
you knew her. She looks one, does she not ? She's as like 
Arthur as two pins, and he's fit to be the noblest king in the 
world." 

The clergyman slightly smiled. He had become accustomed 
to his new friend's impulsive way of speaking. 

" Yes, v/e are both of us down just now, dependents of the 
Greatorex house — she teacher in it, I office-clerk," went on 
Roland. " Never mind : luck may turn some day. I told 
Annabel so just now, but she sent me away. I was talking to 
her too much, she said, and made people stare. Perhaps it 
was so : I know her cheeks turned red every other minute." 

" And to make them paler, you take up your position here 
to gaze at her," observed Mr. Ollivera, with another smile — and 
smiles were rare from him. 

" Oh, law ! " cried Roland. " I'm always doing something 
wrong. The fact is, there's nobody else worth looking at. 
See there ! a yellow gown and no petticoats under it. If this 
is fashion, I hope my mother and sisters are not going in for 
it ! I shall go back to her," he added, after a moment's pause. 
"It's a shame she should sit there alone, with nothing to 
look at but those Models, passing and repassing right before 
her eyes. If Arthur were here, I believe he'd take her 
away." 

Roland, vegetating in that unfashionable region. Port Natal, 
had not yet become accustomed to modern exigencies ; and he 
spoke freely. Just then the throng was great in front of him, 
and he remained where he was. Taller than almost any one 
in the room, he could look at Annabel at will ; Mr. Ollivera, 
about up to Roland's shoulder, could get only occasional 
glimpses of her. Many a one glanced at Roland with interest, 
wondering who the fine, strong young man was, leaning against 
the wall there, with the big white gloves on, and the good-natured 
face, unsophisticated as a boy's. 

Elbowing his way presently across the room something after 
the manner in which he might have elbowed through a crowd on 
the quay at Durban, Roland once more took up his position near 
Miss Channing. The old playfellows had become new friends, 
and Roland contrived that they should often meet. When 
Miss Channing was walking in the Square wilh her pupil, he 
was safe to run up, and stay talking; quite oblivious to the 

Roland Yorke. 8 



114 ROLAND YORKE. 

wants of the office waiting his services. Jane Greatorex had 
learned to look for liim, and would walk where she was likely 
to see him, in defiance of Miss Channing. In spite of Roland's 
early fever to quit his native place, in spite of his prolonged 
rovings, he was essentially a home-bird, and could have been 
content to talk of the old days and the old people with Annabel 
for ever. 

"Where's Jane to-night?" he began, as he joined her. 

" In bed. She was very naughty this evening, and for once 
Mr. Bede Greatorex interfered and sent her to bed." 

"Poor child ! She is awfully troublesome, though, and one 
gets tired of that in tlie long-run. If you — Halloa ! " 

Roland stopped. He was gazing in surprise at some one 
standing near : a man nearly his own age, tall and strong, 
and bearing altogether a general resemblance to himself. But 
the other's face had a cynical cast, expressive of ill nature, 
and the lips were disagreeably full. Roland recognized liim 
for his brother, although they had not met for more than 
seven years. 

"That's Gerald, if ever I saw him in life." 

" Yes, it is Gerald," said Miss Channing, quietly. " He 
generally comes to Mrs. Bede's soirees." 

"Isn't he got up !" 

Roland's expression was an apt one. Gerald Yorke was in 
t1ie very pink of fashion. His manners were easy ; those of a 
man at home in society. 

"He does it grand, does he not?" cried Roland, who had 
made one advance towards making friends with his brother 
since coming to London, and was not responded to in kind. 

Miss Channing laughed. Gerald Yorke had entered on some 
kind of public career and was very prosperous, she believed, 
moving amidst the great ones of the land. Roland, quite for- 
getting where he was, or perhaps not caring, set up a whistle by 
way of attracting the attention of Gerald, who turned amidst 
others at the strange sound. 

" How d'ye do, Gerald, old boy ? Come and shake hands." 

The voice was loud, glad, hearty ; the great hand, with its 
great white glove drawn up over it, minus a button, was 
stretched above intervening heads. Gerald Yorke's face grew 
dark with annoyance, and he hesitated before making the best 
of the situation, and getting near enough to shake the offered 
hand. 



GOING INTO SOCIETY. 115 

He would far rather have become conveniently deaf, and 
walked off in an opposite direction. Alike though the brothers 
were in general resemblance, no contrast could be greater than 
they presented in other respects. Gerald, fine and fashionable, 
with his aristocratic air and his slow, affected drawl, was the 
very type of all that is false, of that insincerity and heartless- 
ness obtaining in what is called society. Roland, hot, thought- 
less, never weighing a Avord before he spoke it, impulsi\-e, 
genuine, utterly unsophisticated as to the usages and manners 
of fashionable life, was just as single-hearted and true. 

Gerald, as Roland put it, "went in" for grandeur, and he 
was already prejudiced against his brother. In a communica- 
tion from Lord Carrick, apologizing for not being able to 
answer satisfactorily Gerald's appeal for a loan, that nobleman 
had confidentially avowed that he could not at present assist 
even Roland effectually, and had got him a temporary place as 
clerk, to save his embarking in the hot-pie line. It may there- 
fore be readily understood that Gerald did not consider an 
intimacy with Roland likely to conduce to his own advance- 
ment (to say nothing of respectability) and his annoyance 
and surprise at seeing him now where he did were about 
equal. 

The hands were shaken, and a few words passed ; warm and 
open on Roland's part, cool and cautious on Gerald's. A 
friend of Gerald's, the Honourable Mr. Somebody, who was 
by his side and begged for an introduction, was more cordial 
than he. 

" I have not seen him since we parted seven years ago, 
when I went off to Port Natal," explained Roland, with his 
accustomed candour. " Haven't I had ups and downs since 
then, Gerald ! " he continued, turning his beaming face upon 
his brother. "You have heard of them I dare say, through 
Carrick." 

" You did not make a fortune," drawled Gerald, wishing he 
could get away. 

" A fortune ! Law bless you, Ger 1 I was glad to work on 
the port with the Kaffirs, unloading boats ; and to serve in 
stores, and to drive cattle and pigs ; anything for bread. You 
can't think how strange all this seems to me " — pointing to the 
crowd in the room, several of whom had gathered "round, 
attracted by this fraternal meeting. 

"Aw! Surprised to see you amidst them," minced Gerald, 



ii6 ROLAND YORKE. 

who could not resist the httle ill-natured hint, in his growing 
rage. 

" Mrs. Greatorex invited me," said Roland, his simplicity 
not detecting the undercurrent of sarcasm. " I am in 
Greatorex's office ; I don't suppose you knew it, Gerald. 
They give me twenty shillings a week ; and Carrick goes 
bail for my rigging out. I got this coat from his tailor's 
to-night." 

The crowd laughed, the Honourable roared, and Gerald 
Yorke went half mad. 

"I'd not acknozvledge it, at any rate, if I were you," he said, 
imprudently, his affectation lost in a burst of temper. "After 
all you were born a Yorke." 

" Acknowledge wliat, Ger ? " returned Roland. 

"The — the — the shame of taking a common clerkship at 
twenty shillings a week ; and all the rest of the degradation," 
cried Gerald, setting conventionality at defiance. " My uncle, 
Lord Carrick, warned me of this ; my mother. Lady Augusta, 
spoke of it in a recent letter to me," he added for the benefit 
of the ears around. 

"Why, Ger, where's the use of being put out?" retorted 
Roland, but with no symptom of ill humour in his good-natured 
tone. " 1 was down, and had nobody to help me. Carrick 
couldn't ; old Dick Yorke wouldn't ; Lady Augusta said she 
had all of you pulling at her : and so Carrick talked to Greato- 
rex and Greatorex, and they put me into the place. The 
pound a week keeps me ; in clover too ; you should hear 
what I sometimes was reduced to live on at Port Natal. There 
was an opening for a hot-pie man down at Poplar, and the place 
was offered me ; if I had gone into that line you might have 
grumbled." 

The ladies and gentlemen shrieked with merriment : they 
began to think the fine young fellow, who looked every whit as 
independent a man as his fastidious brother, was chaffing them 
all. Gerald ground his teeth, and tried to get away. 

" You'll come and see me, old fellow ? " said Roland. " I've 
a stunning room, bedroom and sitting-room in one ; the bed- 
stead's let down at night. It is at Mother Jones's ; poor soft 
Jenkins's widow, you know, that we used to wot of in the days 
gone by." 

Gerald made good his escape : and when they were quiet 
again, Roland had leisure to look at Miss Channing. Her 



GOING INTO SOCIETY. I17 

bent face shone like a peony, the efifect of vexation and sup- 
pressed laughter. 

" Why, what's the matter ? " he asked. 

" You should not say such things, Roland. It was quite out 
of place in a room like this." 

" What things ? " 

" About yourself. It is so different, you know, from any- 
thing young men experience here." 

" But it is all true," returned Roland, unable to see the force 
of the argument. 

" Slill it need not be proclaimed to an indiscriminate crowd. 
You might show more tact. Gerald was ready to die with 
mortification. And you who used to have so much pride ! " 

Roland Yorke, honestly willing to please everybody and vex 
no one, stood looking rueful. " As to pride, Annabel, if a 
fellow wants that knocked out of him, he had better go over 
to Port Natal, and get buffeted as I did," he concluded. " I 
left it all behind me there, I'm afraid. And, of tact, I don't 
think I ever possessed any." 

Which was perfectly true. 

Meanwhile Mr. Ollivera, waiting in vain to see Sir Thomas 
Kene enter, grew sick 01 the ever-changing, ever-moving 
panorama, and went down to his uncle's small and comfortable 
room, leaving word with the servants where he m'ght be found 
if the judge came in. Mr. Greatorex very rarely joined these 
large parties. He was sitting in quiet now, a bright fire in the 
grate, for the evenings were still chilly, a reading-lamp, news- 
papers, and books on the table before him. Slender, active, 
upright still, he scarcely looked his age, sixty-two : his face 
was fresh yet, and not a thread of grey mingled with the 
smooth brown hair. 

" Henry, is it you ? " he exclaimed ; for he was surprised to 
see his nephew enter at that hour. And Mr. Ollivera, as lie 
took a chair, apologized for interrupting him, but said he had 
grown weary of the turmoil above. 

" You don't mean to say you have been making one of 
them ! " 

" I have for once, uncle. It will serve me for ten years to 
come. People say to me sometimes, ' Why don't you go into 
society ? ' Good Heavens ! to think that rational beings, God's 
people who have souls to be saved, can waste their precious 
hours in this way, evening after evening ! The women for the 



Ii8 ROLAND YORKE. 

most part are unseemly to look at ; half dressed, their faces 
powdered and painted, their heads monstrosities, their attire 
sinfully lavish. The men affect to be heartless, drawling cox- 
combs. It is a bad phase of life, this that we have drifted 
into, rotten at the core ; men and women alike artificial. Do 
you like this in your house, Uncle Greatorex ? " 

" When Bede married, I resigned to him the mastership of 
the house, so far as these things were concerned," repHed Mr. 
Greatorex. 

" I know. Does Bede like it ? " 

" He countenances it. For myself, I trouble them very 
little now. Even my dinner I often cause to be served here. 
Bede's wife was civil enough to come down this evening and 
press me to join them." 

" Bede looks more worried that usual — and that need not 
be," observed William Ollivera. "What is it, I wonder? 
To me he has the air of a man silently fretting himself into his 
grave." 

"You know what it is, William," said Mr. Greatorex, in 
low tones, and calling his nephew, as he often did, by his 
second name. "Bede's wife is a great worry. But there's 
another." 

"What is it?" 

"Illness," breathed Mr. Greatorex. "Symptoms that we 
don't like have shown themselves in him lately. However— 
they may pass away. The doctors think they will." 

" I came here to meet Kene, whom I very particularly wish 
to see," resumed the clergyman, after a pause. " Bede said 
he expected him." 

" Ay ; some magnet must have drawn you, apart from that','' 
pointing to the rooms above. And Mr. Ollivera explained 
why he was seeking the judge. 

" I thought something fresh might have arisen in the old 
case ; or at least that you fancied so," observed Mr. Greatorex. 
" You must be coming round to our way of thinking, Willliam, 
U'ime goes on, but that stands still." 

" I shall never come round to it." 

" John has been dead four years and two months, now," pur- 
sued Mr. Greatorex. " And it has stood still all that time." 

William Ollivera leaned forward in his chair, and the fire and 
■the lamp played on his wasted face and the bright flush of 
emotion that rose to his thin cheeks. 



DAY-DREAMS. I19 

"Uncle Greatorcx! it is as fresh to my mind now as it was 
the day I went down to Helstonleigh, and saw him lying white 
and cold and dead, with the ban of the coroner's verdict upon 
him. I cannot shake it off: and of late I am not sure but I 
have tried to do so, in sheer weariness of disappointment. 
' Tarry yet awhile, and wait,' a voice seems ever saying to me : 
and I am content to wait. I cannot rest ; I find no peace. 
When I wake in the morning, I say, 'This day may bring forth 
fruit ; ' when I go to rest at night, the thought that it has not 
is the last upon me. There will be neither rest nor peace for 
me until I have solved the enigma of my brother's death ; and 
I am always working on for it." 

'•Sir Thomas Kene has come, sir," interrupted a servant at 
this juncture, opening the door. 

Henry Ollivera rose ; and, wishing Mr. Greatorex good night, 
went forth to his interview with the judge. 



CHAPTER V. 

DAY-DREAMS. 

The house was almost within a stone's-throw of Bedford Square. 
Its drawing-room windows were thrown open to the evening 
twilight, and a lady sat at one of them in a musing attitude. 
She was very nice looking, with a clear healthy colour, and 
soft bright dark eyes that had a thought in them beyond her 
years, which may have been six or seven-and-twenty. The 
features were well-formed ; the shapely mouth, its rather thin 
and decisive lips, and the pretty pointed chin, spoke of innate 
firmness. Her hand, displaying its wedding-ring and keeper, 
was raised to support lightly her head, the slender fingers 
touching the smooth dark brown hair. She was perfectly still ; 
not a movement betrayed that she heard or saw anything outside 
her own thoughts ; not a rustle stirred the folds of her soft silk 
dress, lying around her. 

" Shall I tell him, or not ? " she murmured at length. " I 
have never had any concealment from him yet, nor he from 
me; but then I know it will pain and worry him. He has 
certainly changed a little : in the old days it seemed that 



120 ROLAND YORKE. 

anxiety could never touch him ; that he would always throw it 
from him with a light word. Heigho ! I suppose it comes with 
the cares of life." 

A moment's pause, during which she was again still as before, 
and then the soliloquy was resumed. 

" I could keep it from him, if necessary : the postman gave 
me the letter as I was going out, and no one knows of its 
arrival. But still — I don't like to begin it ; and he might feel 
vexed afterwards : for, of course, he must come to know of it 
sometime. Oh dear ! I never felt so irresolute before. They 
used to say at home I was so very downright. I wonder which 
would be right to do ? If I were sure he " 

The door was pushed open with a sudden whirl, and a little 
child came flying in with outstretched arms and a joyous 
laugh. 

" Mamma, mamma ! " 

"Nelly!" 

The arms were entwined together, the golden head with its 
shower of silken curls, nestled on the mother's bosom. She 
was of rare loveliness, this child; with the delicately fair 
features, the great blue eyes, the sunny hair, and ever-sunny 
temperament. 

" Now, Nelly ! You know you have been told over and over 
again not to be so boisterous. Fancy a little lady, just five 
years old, coming in like that ! It might have been a great 
rude dog." 

Another laugh in answer, a host of kisses pressed by way of 
peace-offering on the gentle face, bent down in reproof more 
assumed than real. 

"Nurse was running to catch me. She says it's bedtime." 
And, to confirm the assertion, the French clock on the mantel- 
piece at that moment struck eight. 

"So if is. Come and say good night to papa, Nelly. 

Taking the child's hand, she went out into what seemed a 
flood of light, after the darkening room. The hall-lamp threw 
its rays on the gleaming silk of her pale blue dress, the white 
fairy robes of the child, the well-carpeted stairs. In the front 
room below, the tea stood ready by the evening fire : they went 
through to another room ; and the mother spoke. 

" Nelly has come to wish papa good night." 

Seated at the table of this inner room was a gentleman writing 
/at by a shaded candle. He looked up with a sunny smile of 



DAY-DREAMS. I2l 

welcome, and you saw the likeness then between the cliild and 
the father. I'he winning, beautiful features ; the fair, bright 
complexion ; the laughing blue eyes ; the gay, happy tempera- 
ment : all were the same. 

It was James Channing. Sunny Hamish, as he used to be 
called. He was only thirty; a tall, well-proportioned, but as 
yet very slender man ; rising over six feet, altogether attractive, 
handsome to look upon. Nelly, forgetting her lecture, flew 
into his arms with a shout and a laugh, as she had into those 
of her mother. 

"And what may this young lady have been about that she 
has not come to see me before, this evening?" he asked. 

" Nurse kept her out rather late, Hamish, for one thing, and 
I knew you were busy," came the ansvrer; not from the child, 
but from INIrs. Channing. 

"Yes, I am very busy. I have not a minute to give even to 
my darling Nelly to-night," he said fondly, kissing the rosy lips. 
" Nelly must go to bed and dream of papa instead." 

"You'll have time when the ship comes home, papa," said 
the child. 

" Lots of time then." 

" The ship is to be a book." 

"Ay." 

" And it will bring great luck ? " 

" Yes. Please God." 

The last words were murmured in a tone suddenly hushed 
to reverence ; low and happy ; hopeful with a great, glad, 
assured hope, cheering to listen to ; a trusted hope that lighted 
up the whole countenance of the man, and shone forth from 
his blue eyes. But he said no more ; not even to his v>'ife and 
his child could he speak of the joy that anticipation wrought 
within him. 

With too many kisses to be counted, with good nights spoken 
again and yet again, Nelly was released and disappeared with 
her mother. The child had been trained well. There was 
some indulgence on the parents' side— perhaps that is indis- 
pensable in the case of an only child — but there was neither 
trouble nor rebellion on hers. Little Nellie Channing had been 
taught to obey ; and, to do so, came to her naturally. 

Mrs. Channing took her upstairs and turned into her own 
dressing-room, as usual. She deemed it well that the child 
should say her prayers in solitude, and, always when practicable, 



123 ROLAND YORKE. 

in the same place. Nelly sat down of her own accord by her 
mother, and was quite still and quiet while a very {qw verses 
from the Bible were read to her ; and then she knelt down to 
say her simple prayers at her mother's knee. 

•' God bless my darling little Nelly, and make her a good 
girl ! " said Mrs. Channing, as she took her out and resigned 
her to the nurse. 

"Are you ready for tea, Hamish?" she asked, when she went 
down again, 

" Quite. But, Ellen, I think I shall have to trouble you to 
bring it to me to-night." 

" Are you so very busy ? " 

" Ay. Look here." 

He pointed to some papers on the table. " Those are proof 
sheets : and I must get this manuscript in to-morrow, or they 
will not insert it in next month's number," 

" Hamish, I hope you are not doing too much," she gravely 
said. " I don't like this night-work." 

He laughed gleefully. "Too much! I only wish I had too 
much to do, Ellen. Never fear, dear." 

" I wish you would teach me to correct the proofs." 

"What an idea!" 

" I shall teach myself, sir." 

" It would be waste of time, young lady. I could not let 
any one go over my proofs but myself." 

"You vain fellow! I wonder if self-conceit is inherent in 
literary men? Are they all as vain as Hamish Channing? " 

He took up the pen-wiper and threw it at her. But some- 
how Ellen was not in a mood for much jesting to-night. She 
put the pen-wiper on the table again, and went and stood 
in silence with her hand on his shoulder. He turned his 
head. 

"What is it, love?" 

" Hamish, I would bring in your tea willingly ; you know 
it; but I think it would do you more good to leave this 
work, if only for five minutes. And I have something to say 
to you." 

"Very well. I can't come for a quarter-of-an-hour. You 
are a regular martinet." 

Ellen Channing left him and sat down in the other room to 
wait ; and this will afford an opportunity for a word of ex- 
planation. Amidst the very very many people in all classes of 



DAY-DREAMS. 123 

life, high and low, on whom a certain recent panic had wrought 
its disastrous effects, was Hamish Channing. The Bank, of 
which he had been manager in Helstonleigh, was drawn into 
the vortex by the failure of another bank, and went in its turn. 
Honourable men had to do with it ; they sacrificed their own 
property in the emergency, and not a creditor suffered ; every 
one was paid in full. It could not be reorganized, and it left 
Hamish without employment. His wife's father, Mr. Huntley, 
had been one of the principal shareholders, and on him had 
fallen the greater weight of the loss. It fell, too, at a time 
when Mr. Huntley could not afford to sustain it. He pos- 
sessed a large property in Canada, but it had latterly begun 
to yield him little or no return. AVhether in consequence of 
local depreciation, or of mismanagement (or perhaps something 
worse) on the part of his agents there, he knew not, and he 
sent his son out to see. The young man (he was three or 
four years younger than Mrs. Channing, and quite inexperi- 
enced) seemed unable to grapple with the business ; he wrote 
home confused and perplexing accounts, of which i\Ir. Huntley 
could make nothing. At length that gentleman resolved to 
go out himself ; and the letter we have heard Mrs. Channing 
alluding to to-day was from him. It was the second letter 
they had received, the first having m.erely announced his 
safe arrival : and the accounts this last contained were so 
gloomy that Ellen Channing .would fain have kept them from 
her husband. 

It must be distinctly understood that the failure of the Bank 
in Helstonleigh was in no way connected with mismanagement. 
Had a quorum of the wisest business-men in the world been 
at its head, they could neither have foreseen its downfall nor 
have averted it. Therefore Hamish Channing came out of 
that, as he had out of every untoward thing all his life, un- 
tarnished in honour and in character. A small secretaryship 
was offered him in London, which he accepted ; and he re- 
moved to the great city, with his wife and little daughter, his 
goods and chattels, there to set up his tent. A very small 
income had been settled on Ellen when she married ; the 
larger portion of her fortune was to come to her at her fiither's 
death. Whether it would be much, or little, or a?iy, under the 
altered state of affairs, it was impossible now to say. 

But it was not on the secretaryship that Hamish Channing 
depended for fame and fortune. A higher and dearer hope 



124 ROLAND YORKE. 

was his. That Hamish possessed in a great degree that rarest 
of all God's gifts, true genius, he had long known. Writers 
of talent the world has had, and had in abundance, men and 
women ; of real genius but few. Perhaps, after all, the differ- 
ence is not very distinguishable by the general mass of readers. 
But, to those who possess it, its characteristics are unmistak- 
able. The divine light (is it too much to call it so ?) that lies 
within them shines as a beacon, pointing on to fame ; to 
honour ; above all, to appreciation : the knowledge that they 
are different from their fellow-mortals, of a higher and nobler 
and rarer order, and that the world Avill sometime recognize 
the foct and bow dovv^n in worship, is never absent from the 
consciousness of the inner lieart. 

But, with the gift, James Channing also possessed its almost 
invariably accompanying attribute : refined sensitiveness of 
feeling. And that is a quality not too well calculated to 
battle with rude every-day life. Should the great hope within 
him ever meet with a stern, crushing disappointment, his 
inability to bear the shock would in all probability show itself 
in some very marked degree. No one but himself knew or 
suspected the extreme sensitiveness of his every feeling ; it had 
been hidden hitherto under the nonchalant ease of manner, the 
sunny temper which made Hamish Channing's great charm. 
When the Bank was broken up, and with it his home and his 
chief means of living, it was not felt by him as many another 
man would have felt it : for it seemed only to render more 
feasible the great aim of his life — that of devoting himself to 
literature. Years ago he had begun to write : and the efforts 
were somewhat crude, as all first efforts, whether given to the 
world or not, must of necessity be, but they bore unmistakably 
the stamp of genius. His appointment to the Bank and his 
marriage interrupted his writing ; and his genius and pen had 
alike lain dormant for some six years. His wife's father, Mr. 
Huntley, had procured his later appointment, and Hamish did 
not venture to decline it and devote himself wholly to literature, 
as he would have liked to do. The pay, though small, was 
certain ; Ellen's income was smaller still, and they must live ; 
so he accepted it. His duties there occupied him from nine 
till four ; and all his time beyond that, early and late, was 
devoted to writing. The day's employment was regarded as a 
temporary clog, to be given up as soon as he found his income 
from literature would justify it. To accomplish this end, he 



DAY-DREAMS. 1 25 

was doing a great deal more than was good for him and taking 
too Uttle rest. In point of fact, he had, you see, two occupa- 
tions, each of which would have been sufficient for an in- 
dustrious man. What of that ? Hamish never so much as 
cast a thought to it. 

With what a zest had he recommenced the writing, laid 
aside for so long ! It was like returning to some haven of rest, 
Joy filled his whole being. The past six years had been heavy 
with suppressed yearning; the yearning to be about the work 
for which he knew God had pre-eminently fitted him : but his 
duties had been onerous, his time almost fully occupied ; and 
when he would have snatched moments from the night for the 
dearer work, his wife and his anxious friends had risen up in 
arms against it, for he v.ms not over-strong, and some delicacy 
of constitution was preached about. Besides, as Mr. Huntley 
said, a manager who turned author might alarm the Bank's 
supporters. But he had it all his Gv»'n way now, and made 
good profit of his writings. Papers on social questions of the 
day, essays, stories, were in turn v/ritten, and taken by different 
periodicals. They had to be written, apart from other hopes 
and views, for the style in which they lived required means to 
support it, beyond his salary and his wife's income. It was 
not much style, after all, no extravagance; three maid-servants, 
and little company ; but every one knows how money seems to 
melt in London. 

He had been at this work now for a year. And his wife 
was beginning to grov/ anxious, for she knew he was doing too 
much, and told him he was wearing himself out. If he could 
only resign the secretaryship ! was ever her secret hope and 
thought just as much as his ; and she wished her father could 
get his Canadian affairs well settled, so as to allow the neces- 
sary addition to her income. Hamish laughed at this. He 
was living in a dream of future fame and fortune : that it Avould 
inevitably come, he felt as sure of as though it now lay ready 
to be picked up. He was writing a long work ; a work in three 
volumes ; and this was the precious gem on which all his hopes 
and love and visions were centred. The writing for periodicals 
had to be done, for its returns were needed ; but every spare 
moment, apart from that, was devoted to the book. A glad 
light beamed from his eyes; a joy, sweet as some divine 
melody, lay ever on his spirit. Oh, what is there of bliss and 
love in the world that can compare with this ! And it is known 



126 ROLAND YORKfi. 

to so few ; so very few : by all others it can never be so much 
as imagined. Do not mistake it, you who read, for the 
pleasurable anticipation of a man or woman who may from 
chance causes have " taken up " the profession of literature, 
looking for the good, substantial and otherwise, that it is to bring 
them. The two are wholly different ; the one is born of 
heaven, the other of earth. But that man must live, the 
thought that money shall be one of the returns, would be 
unendurable ; never accepted, I honestly believe, without a 
blush : the dross of earth mingling with the spiritualized, 
exalted joy of Eden. It is well that this same gift of genius 
with its unspeakable pleasures and its attendant after-pains— 
for they are certain to come — should be vouchsafed to a unit 
amidst tens of thousands ! 

Mrs. Channing sat waiting for him ; the tea standing before 
her, herself thoughtful. The room was large and handsomely 
furnished, for their furniture had been a present from Mr. 
liuntley when they had married. The inner room, used 
exclusively by Hamish for writing, was almost lined with book- 
shelves. 

The door opened, and Hamish came in. He had a small 
packet in his hand ; proof-sheets done up for the post ; and 
sent them out at once by the maid, as he sat down to tea. 
This he seemed inclined to swallow at a draught, scarcely 
giving himself time for a solitary piece of bread-and-butter, 
ever anxious to get back to his labour and the glowing visions 
connected with it. 

" Hamish, I do believe you like your writing better than you 
like me ! " Ellen said to him one day almost passionately. 
And for answer, Mr. Hamish in his sauciness had said he was 
not sure but he did. 

He sat there at tea, now, talking gaily as usual. His wife 
interrupted him, telling of the letter she had received, and its 
unfavourable news. He listened with his sunny smile. 

" I had a great mind not to tell you at all, Hamish," she con- 
fessed. " Papa's temperament is nearly as sanguine as yours ; 
and if he writes in low spirits, saying he fears it may turn out 
that he is ruined, I know things must be very bad indeed." 

" But why have hesitated to tell me, Ellen ? " 

"To save you anxiety. Don't you see what it implies ? If 
papa loses his property, the fortune that would have been mine 
sometime will also be lost." 



DAY-DREAMS. I27 

Had she been speaking of the loss of some trifle, he could 
scarcely have heard it witla more equanimity. It seemed to 
llamish that the future was, humanly speaking, in his own 
hands. 

'' Never mind, Ellen, we possess a resource that cannot be 
lost. I will take care of you. Heaven aiding me. You shall 
have every good in abundance." 

" Yes, that is just it. Y'ou work too much already : you 
would work more then." 

Hamish laughed. " Do you know what I wish, Ellen ? I 
wish the day were four-and-twenty hours long instead of twelve, 
and that I had two sets of brains and hands instead of one." 

'■ How are you getting on ? " 

" Oh, so well. It is all right, my darling. And will be." 

They were interrupted by a visitor — Mr. Roland Yorkc. 
There had been a casual meeting once or twice, but this was 
the first time he had been there. They had invited him to 
come; but Roland had the grace to be ashamed of a certain 
escapade of his in the days gone b)', which brought disgrace for 
the time being on Arthur Channing, and he had rather held 
back from them. This he now partially confessed. 

" It would have been so different, you know, Hamish, had I 
returned with a few millions from Port Natal, and gone home 
to atone to Arthur in the face of the whole town, and done 
honour to him for what lie is, the best man living, and heaped 
a fortune upon him. But I have not been able to do that. I 
would rather rush off again to Port Natal and its troubles, than 
g,. within miles of Helstonleigh." 

" And so, to mend matters, you thought you would keep 
miles away from me," said Hamish, with his smile of welcome. 
" I think there's only one person in the world would be more 
pleased to see you than I, and that's Arthur himself." 

" I know. I know what a good fellow you always were. 
But I hadn't the face to come, you see. It was Annabel made 
me do so now." 

Suddenly shaking their hands in the heartiest manner, with 
a grip that brought pain to Mrs, Channing, wlio wore rings, 
Roland turned his attention upon the tea. Hamish, re- 
membering his appetite of old, rang the bell for a supply of 
good things to be brouglit in; and Roland was speedily in the 
midst of the most comfortable enjoyment, mentally and bodily. 
He gave them his own confidence without the least reserve, 



138 ROLAND VORIvE. 

both as to present and past ; gravely telling everything, In- 
cluding the proposed hot-pie scheme, which made Hamish 
hold his sides, and the having met Gerald at Mrs. Bede 
Greatorex's party. 

" I rather expect Gerald here this evening," remarked 
Hamish. 

'•' Do you ? " said Roland. " He won't be too pleased to 
see me ; he means to cut me, I'm nearly sure. Do you see 
much of him, Hamish ? " 

Hamish explained that he did. They were both in the 
literary line ; and Gerald had some good engagements as a 
reviewer. 

" Where's his wife ? " asked Roland. " Yes, please, Mrs. 
Channing, another cup ; plenty of milk and sugar." 

" In the country; somewhere in Gloucestershire. Gerald is 
not too communicative on that score." 

" Don't you think, Hamish, he must have been a great duffer 
to go and marry before he knew how he could keep a wife ? " 

Hamish raised his eyebrows with the good-natured, in- 
different manner that Roland so well remembered in the days 
gone by; but he made no other answer. Where Hamish 
Channing could not praise, he would not blame. Even by his 
immediate relatives Gerald's imprudent marriage was tacitly 
ignored, and the Lady Augusta Yorke had threatened to box 
Roland's ears in Ireland, when he persisted in asking about it. 

" I always knew Gerald would not go into the Church," 
remarked Roland. " / wouldn't ; they say Tod threatened to 
run off to sea if they talked to hifn about it : somehow we boys 
have a prejudice against following my father's calhng. I'll tell 
you a secret, Hamish : if a fellow want's to be fnade., to have 
his nonsense knocked out of him, he must go to Port Natal. 
Do you remember the morning you saw me decamping for 
London on my way to it ? " 

• " Don't I," said Hamish, his lips parting with merriment at 
the remembrance. " There was commotion that day in 
Helstonleigh, Roland ; in Galloway's office especially." 

" And dear old Arthur buried his wrongs and went to the 
rescue; and poor dying Jenkins got out of his bed to help. 
He was nothing but a calf, poor fellow, a reed in Mrs. J.'s 
hands, but he was good as gold. I say, she's altered. 

" Is she ? " 

Roland nodded. " That going to Port Natal made me^ 



DAY-DREAMS. iig 

Hamish," he resumed ; and Hamish was slightly surprised at 
the serious tone. " I should have been one of the idlest of 
the family batch but for the lesson I got read to me there. I 
went out to make my fortune ; instead of making it, I had to 
battle with fate, and fate won the day. They call it names 
of course ; a mistaken enterprise, a miserable failure ; but it 
was just the best thing that could have happened to me. I 
was a proud, stuck-up ignoramus ; I should have depended on 
Carrick, or any one else, to get my living for me ; but I mean 
now to earn it for myself." 

When Hamish went to his work later, leaving Ellen to 
entertain their guest, Roland followed him with his eyes. 

There was a change in Hamish Channing, apparent to one 
even as unobservant as Roland. The face was thinner than 
of yore ; its refined features were paler ; they looked ethe- 
realized, as it seemed to Roland. The sweet nature was there 
still, but some of its old gaiety had given place to thought. 
The light and mocking tone then so often heard, had given 
place to one of earnest consideration to all. 

" What are you looking at ? " questioned Ellen, struck with 
Roland's intent gaze and unusual seriousness. 

"At Hamish. He is so changed." 

" Older, do you mean ? " 

" Law bless you, no. Of course he is older by more than 
seven years ; but he is very young-looking still ; he does not 
look so old as I do, and I am two years his junior. I used 
to think Hamish Channing the handsomest fellow living, but 
he was nothing then to what he is now. I hope you won't 
consider it's wrong of me to say it, Mrs. Channing, but there's 
something in his face now that makes one think of heaven." 

" Mr. Yorke ! " 

"There! I knew what it would be. Mr. Ollivera flies out 
at me just in the same way when I say wrong things. Other 
people don't say them. It must have been that Port Natal. 
I thought I was dead once, over there," added Roland, passing 
on to another topic with his usual abruptness. 

Ellen smiled ; she had spoken in surprise only. Roland 
Yorke, who had brought his chair round to the fire, sat 
opposite to her, his elbow on his knee, his head bent forward. 

" I don't mean that it makes one think he is going to 
heaven — going to die before his time ; you need not be afraid, 
Mrs. Channing. It was not that kind of thought at all ; only 

Roland Yorke. U 



136 liOLAND YORKE. 

that the angels and people about, up there, must have just 
such faces as Hamish's ; good, and pure, and beautiful ; and 
just the same sweet expression, and the same loving-kindness 
in their tones." 

Roland stopped and pulled his dark whiskers. Mrs. Chan- 
ning began to think /le had also changed for the better. 

" Many a one, remembering the past, would have just turned 
their backs upon me, Mrs. Channing. Instead of that, he is 
as glad to see me, and makes me as welcome as if I were a 
lord, or a prize pig sent him at Christmas. What did I nearly 
die of ? you ask. Well, of fever ; but I fell in for all sorts of 
horrid torments. I had the eye-epidemic, which is caused by 
the dust, and thought I was going blind. Then I had what 
they call Natal sores, a kind of boil ; then I nearly had a sun- 
.^troke ; the heat's something awful, you know. And I was 
seized upon by the ticks everlastingly." 

" Do you mean the tic-douloureux ? " 

" Law bless you ! A Port Natal tick is an insect. It sits 
on the top of the grass waiting for you to pass by, and darts 
into your legs ; and no earthly thing will get it off again, 
except tugging at it with tweezers. They have no wings or 
mouth, nothing but a pair of lancets and a sort of pipe for a 
body, covered with spikes. When I set up that store for 
leeches and pickled pork, I used to go and get the leeches 
myself, to save buying ; lots of them grow in the rivulets round 
about ; but I would bring home a great many more ticks than 
leeches, and that didn't pay, you know. Where's the child ? " 

" Nelly ? She has gone to bed." 

" She is the prettiest child I ever saw." 

"She is just like her papa," said Mrs. Channing, whose 
cheeks were flushing softly with pardonable love and pride at 
the praise of her child. 

" So she is. When will his book be out ? " 

" Ah, I don't know. He is getting on quickly, he tells me. 
I think he is a ready writer." 

" I suppose most men of genius are that," remarked Roland. 
" He does not talk much about it, does he ? " 

" Not at all. A very litde to me. These wonderful hopes 
and dreams that lie deep down within us, cannot be spoken of 
to the world. I have none," she added, slightly laughing ; " 1 
am more practical." 

" Hamish is so hopeful ! It is his temperament to be so." 



DAY-DREAMS. 131 

'•'■ Hopeful ! '^ repeated Mrs. Charming; "indeed lie is. I 
never saw any one so much so. You have heard of day- 
dreams, Mr. Yorke ; well, this book is his day-dream. He 
works at it late and early, almost night and day. I tell him 
sometimes he must be wearing himself out." 

" One never does really wear out from work, Mrs. Chan- 
ning. I used to think I was wearing out at old Galloway's ; 
but I didn't know what work was until I got to Natal. I 
learnt it then." 

" Did you sit up to work at night at Port Natal?" 

"Only when I had not a bed to go to," answered candid 
Roland. " Mine was not that kind of work, sitting up to burn 
the midnight oil; it lay in knocking about." 

" That's quite different." 

" What puzzles me more than anything is, that Gerald 
should have turned author," resumed Roland. "Henry 
Ollivera was talking about genius at our place the other day. 
Why, according to what he says, Gerald Yorke must have 
about as much genius as a gander." 

Ellen laughed. " Hamish says Gerald has no real genius," 
she returned. " But he has a good deal of talent. He is Avhat 
may be called a dashing writer." 

" Well, I don't know," disputed Roland, who could not be 
convinced as to his brother's good qualities. " I remember 
in the old days at home, when Gerald was at the college- 
school, he couldn't be made to write a letter. If Lady Augusta 
wanted him to write a letter to Carrick, or to George out in 
India, she had to din at him for six months. He hated it like 
poison." 

" That may have been idleness." 

" Oh, we all went in for that," acknowledged Roland. " I 
should have been a very lazy beggar to the end of time but for 
emigrating to Port Natal." 



133 ROLAND YORKE. 

CHAPTER VI. 

COMMOTION IN THE OFFICE OF GREATOREX AND GREATOREX. 

The summer sun, scorching the pavement with its heat and 
its glare, threw itself with great might into the offices of 
Greatorex and Greatorex. Josiah Hurst and Roland Yorke 
were at their desk, writing side by side. Jenner was similarly 
occupied. Mr. Brown was holding a conversation in an under- 
tone with some stranger, who had entered with him as he 
came in from an errand : a man of staid, respectable appear- 
ance. Something in the cut of his clothes spoke of the 
provinces ; and Roland Yorke, who never failed to look 
after other people's affairs, however pressing his own might be, 
decided that the stranger was a countryman, come up to see 
the sights of London. 

" Which I can't see, except from the outside," grumbled 
Roland to himself. " It's an awful sell to have to go about 
with empty pockets. I wonder who the fellow is? — he hns 
been whispering there twenty minutes if he's been one. He 
looks as if he had plenty in his." 

Mr. Bede Greatorex came in and took his place at his desk. 
The head-clerk drew his head away from his friend's, and 
commenced work ; a hint to the stranger that their gossip must 
be at an end. 

The latter asked for a pen and ink, wrote a few words on 
a leaf he tore from his pocket-book, folded it, and gave it to 
INIr. Brown. 

" That is my address in town," he said. " Let me see you 
to-night. I leave to-morrow at midday." 

" Good," replied Mr. Brown, glancing at the address on the 
paper. 

The stranger went out, lifting his hat to the room generally, 
and Mr. Brown put the paper away in his pocket. 

" Who was that ? " asked Mr. Bede Greatorex. 

" A gentleman I used to know, sir, a farmer," was the reply. 
"I met him outside just now, and he came in with me. We 
got talking of old times." 

" Oh, I thought it was some one on business for the office," 
said Mr. Bede Greatorex, in half apology for inquiring. His 



COMMOTION IN THE OFFICE. 133 

face looked worn as usual, his eyes bright and restless. Some 
of the family could remember that when the late Mrs. Greatorex 
had first shown symptoms of the malady of which she died, her 
eyes had been unnaturally bright. 

The work went on. The clocks drew near to twelve, and 
the sun grew fiercer. Roland began to look white and flurried. 
What with the w^ork and the heat, he thought he might as well 
be roughing it at Port Natal. He wms doing pretty well on 
the whole — for him — and did not get lectured above four times 
a week. To help liking Roland was impossible ; with his frank 
manners, his good-nature, his unsophisticated mind, and his 
candid revelations in regard to himself, that would now and 
again plunge the office into convulsions. It was also within 
the range of possibility that his connections, and the fact of his 
being free of the house, running up at will to pay unexpected 
visits to Mrs. Greatorex, had their weight with Mr. Brown ; 
for things were tolerated in Roland that certainly would not 
have been tolerated in any other clerk, whether he might be a 
gentleman or not. Roland had chosen to constitute himself a 
sort of enfafit-de-la-viaison ; he and his brothers and sisters 
had been intimate with the Joliffe girls ; he could remember 
once having nearly got up a fight with Lousia, now Mrs. Bede 
Greatorex ; and, to make Roland understand that in running 
upstairs when he chose, darting in upon Mrs. Greatorex as she 
sat in her boudoir or drawing-room, upon Miss Channing as 
she gave lessons to Jane Greatorex, he was intruding, would 
have been a hopeless task. Once or twice Mr. Bede Greatorex 
had invited him up to luncheon or dinner; and so Roland 
made himself free of the house, and in a degree swayed the 
ofifice. 

They were very busy to-day. The work which he and Hurst 
and Jenner had in hand was being waited for, so that Roland 
had to stick to it, in spite of the intense heat, and quite 
decided he could not have been worse off at Port Natal. The 
scratching of pens was going on pretty equally, when Frank 
Greatorex came in. 

" I want a cheque from you, Bede." 

" Where's Mr. Greatorex ? " returned Bede in answer ; for 
it was to him such applications were made in general. 

"Gone out." 

Bede put aside the deed he had been examining, went into 
bis private room, and came back with his cheque-book. 



134 ROLAND YORKE. 

" How much ? " he asked of his brother, as he sat down. 

*' Forty-four pounds. Make it out to Sir Richard Yorke." 

Simultaneous, as it seemed, two of those present raised their 
heads to look at Frank Greatorex : Roland Yorke and Mr. 
Brown. The former was no doubt attracted by the sound of 
his kinsman's name ; what aroused Mr. Brown's attention did 
not appear, but he stared for a moment apparently in amaze- 
ment. 

" Upon consideration, I don't think I'll take the cheque with 
me now ; I will call for it later in the day, when I've been into 
the City," spoke a voice at the door ; and Sir Richard Yorke 
appeared. Bede, who had just signed the cheque, came forward 
to shake hands. 

" How d'ye do, sir," spoke up Roland. 

Sir Richard's little eyes peered out of his fat face, and he 
condescended to recognize his nephew by a nod. Bede 
Greatorex spoke a (tw Avords to the baronet, touching the 
matter in hand, and turned back to his desk, leaving Frank to 
escort the old gentleman out. Bede, about to cross the cheque, 
hesitated. 

" Did Mr. Frank say a crossed cheque ? " he asked, looking 

"No, sir; he simply said a cheque," said Jenner, finding 
that no one else answered. 

"Yes," broke out Roland, " it's fine to be that branch of the 
family. Getting their cheques for forty-four pounds ! I wish I 
could get one for forty-four shillings." 

" Have the goodness to attend to your own business, Mr. 
Yorke." 

Bede Greatorex left the cheque uncrossed. In a few 
minutes, after putting things straight on his desk, he gathered up 
his papers, including the cheque and cheque-book, and wenc into 
his room. Putting everything into his desk, — for he had an 
engagement at twelve, and it was within a minute or two of 
that hour, — he locked it and went out by the other door, with- 
out coming into the front room again. 

Now it happened that Bede Greatorex, who had expected to 
be absent half-an-hour at the longest, was unavoidably detained, 
so that when Sir Richard Yorke returned for his cheque it 
could not be given him. Mr. Greatorex, however, was at home, 
and drew out another. And the day went on. 

"You must cancel that cheque. Bede," Mr. Greatorex 



COMMOTION IN THE OFFICE. 135 

observed to his son tliat same evening, after office-hours. 
" It was very unbusiness-hke to lock it up, when you were not 
certain of coming back in time to give it to Sir Richard." 

" But I thought it was certain. It does not matter." 

" If you will bring me those title-deeds of Cardwell's, I'll go 
over them myself quietly, and see what I can make of the 
matter," said Mr. Greatorex. 

Bede crossed the passage to his private room, and unlocked 
his desk. The deeds Mr. Greatorex asked for were those that 
he had been examining in the front office in the morning. 
Some flaw had been discovered, or was suspected in them, and 
it was likely to give the office some trouble, which would fall 
on Bede's head. They lay inside the desk, just as Bede had 
placed them in the morning, the paper-weight upon them. 
Detained at Westminster until a late hour, he had not been 
to his desk since then. Reminded by his father to destroy 
the now useless cheque, Bede thought he would do it at once. 

But he could not find it. Other papers, besides the title- 
deeds, cheque, and cheque-book, he had placed within, and he 
went carefully over them all, one by one. Nothing was miss- 
ing, nothing had apparently been touched, but the cheque 
certainly was not there. He searched his desk in the front 
office, quite for form's sake, for he knew that he had carried 
the cheque with him to his private room. 

" One would think you had been drawing out the deeds, 
instead of fetching them,'' remarked Mr. Greatorex, when he 
returned. 

" I can't find that cheque," answered Bede. 

"Not find it!" repeated Mr. Greatorex. "What do you 
mean, Bede ? " 

Bede gave a short history of the affair. He had been in a 
hurry : and, instead of waiting to put the cheque and cheque- 
book into his cash-box, had left them loose in his desk with 
the title-deeds and suiiidry other papers. 

" But you locked your desk ? " cried Mr. Greatorex. 

" Assuredly. I have only unlocked it now. The cheque 
would be as safe there as in the cash-box." 

"You could not have put it in, Bede ; it must be somewhere 
about." 

" I am just as certain that I put it in, as I am that it is not 
there now." 

Mr. Greatorex did not believe it. Bede for some time had 



136 ROLAND YORKE. 

bee;i showing himself less the keen, precise man of business he 
used to be. Trifling mistakes, inaccuracies, negligences, 
would come to light now and again ; vexing Mr. Greatorex 
beyond measure. 

" I don't know what to make of you of late, Bede," he said, 
after a pause. " You know the complaints v/e have been 
obliged to hear. These very title-deeds" — placing his hand 
on those just brought in — " it was you who examined and 
passed them. One negligence or another continually comes 
cropping up, and they may all be traced to you. Is your state 
of health the cause of this ? " 

" I suppose so," replied Bede, who felt conscious that the 
reproach was merited. 

'• You had better take rest for a time. If " 

" No," came the interruption, as though the proposal were 
unpalatable to him. " Work is better for me than idleness. 
Oat of harness, I should knock up altogether." 

" Bede," said Mr. Greatorex, in a kindly tone, but with 
some hesitation, " it appears to me that you get more of a 
changed man day by day. You have not been the same smce 
your marriage. I fear the cause, or a great portion of it, lies in 
Jier ; 1 fear she gives you trouble. As you know, I have 
never spoken to you before of this ; I have abstained from 
doing so." 

A flush, that had shown itself in the clear olive face when 
Mr. Greatorex began to speak, faded to whiteness ; the hand, 
that accidentally touched his father's, felt fevered in all its 
veins. 

" At least, my wife is not the cause of my illness," he 
answered in low tones. 

" I don't know that, Bede. That a great worry lies for ever 
on your heart, that a restless, nervous anxiety never leaves you 
night or day, is sufficiently plain to me ; I know that it can 
only arise from matters connected with your wife ; and I also 
know that this, and this alone, tells upon your bodily health. 
Your wife's extravagance is bringing you care : ruin will surely 
follow, if you do not check it." 

Bede Greatorex opened his lips to speak, but seemed to 
think better of it, and closed them again. His brow was 
knitted in two upright lines. 

" Unless you can do so, Bede, I shall be compelled to make 
an alteration in pur arrangements. In jjustice to myself and to 



COMMOTION IN THE OFFICE. 137 

my other children, your name must be wiihdrawn from the 
firm. Not yourself and your income : only the name, as a 
matter of safety." 

Bede Greatorex bit his lips. His father's heart ached for 
him. For a long time Mr. Greatorex had seen that his son's 
unhappy state of mind (and that it was unhappy no keen 
observer, much with him, could mistake) arose through his 
wife. And he thought Bede a fool for putting up with her. 

" You need not be afraid," said Bede. " I will take care the 
firm's interests are not affected." 

" How can you take care ? " retorted Mr. Greatorex, rather 
sternly. " When debts are being contracted daily in the most 
reckless manner : debts that you know nothing of, until the 
bills come trooping in and you are called upon to pay them ; 
can you answer for what it will go on to ? Can I ? Many a 
richer man than either of us, Bede, has been brought to the 
Bankruptcy Court through less than this. Ay, and I will tell 
you what else, Bede — it has brought husbands to the grave, 
when people remark to me, ' Your son Bede looks ill,' I quietly 
answer, 'Do you think so?' when all the while I am secretly 
wondering that you can look even as well as you do." 

" Who remarks on it ?" asked Bede. 

" Who ! Many people. Only the other night, when Henry 
Oilivera was here, he spoke of it." 

" Let Henry Oilivera concern himself with his own affairs," 
was the vexed answer. " Does he want to be a " 

Bede's voice dropped to an inaudible whisper. But the 
concluding words had sounded like — " curse amongst us." 

" Bede ! Did you say curse ? " 

" I said kifig,'^ answered Bede. His lips were quivering, his 
chest was heaving ; all with a passion he was trying to sup- 
press. Mr. Greatorex looked at him, and waited. He had 
seen Bede in these intemperate fits of anger before : sometimes 
for no apparent cause. 

" We will go back to the starting-point — this cheque, Bede," 
he quietly said. " You must have overlooked it. Go and 
search your desk again." 

Bede was leaving the room when he met a servant coming 
to it with a message. Mr. Yorke had called, and wished to 
see Mr. Greatorex for a couple of minutes : his business was 
important. 

The notion of Roland Yorke in connection with important 



133 ROLAND YORKE. 

bjiiness brought a smile to the face of Mr. Greatorex. He 
told the servant to send him in. 

But instead of Roland, it was the son of Sir Richard Yorke 
who advanced. A very fashionable gentleman in evening 
dress, small and slight, with white hands, a lisp, and a silky 
moustache. He had come about the cheque. 

Sir Richard, fatigued with his visit to the City, had gone 
straight home to Portland Place, after receiving the cheque 
from Mr. Greatorex, and sent his son to the bankers' to get it 
cashed : a branch office of the London and Westminster. The 
clerk, before he cashed it, looked at it rather attentively, and 
then went away for a minute. 

"We have cashed one cheque before to-day, sir, precisely 
similar to this," he said on his return. " Would Sir Richard 
be likely to receive two cheques from Greatorex and Greatorex 
in one day, each drawn for the same amount — forty -four 
pounds ? " 

" Greatorex and Greatorex are my father's men of business ; 
he went to get some money from them to-day, I know ; I sup- 
pose he chose to receive it in two cheques instead of one," 
replied Mr. Yorke haughtily, for he deemed the question an 
impertinence. " Sir Richard may have wished to pay the 
half of it away." 

The clerk counted out the money and said no more. The 
cheques were undoubtedly genuine, the first made out in the 
well-known hand of Bede Greatorex, the last in that of his 
father, and the clerk supposed it was all right. Mr. Yorke 
sent the money up to Sir Richard when he reached home, and 
went out again. At dinner-time, he mentioned what the clerk 
had said — "Insolent fellali !" and the old baronet, who knew 
of the fact of two cheques having been drawn, took alarm. 

" He wouldn't let me wait an instant ; sent me off here 
before I'd well finished dinner," grumbled Mr. Yorke. " One 
of you had better come and see him if the cheque has been 
lost and cashed ; or he'll ask me five hundred questions which 
I can't answer, and worry himself into a fit over it. He has 
had one fit, you know. As to the cheque, it must have got 
into the hands of some clever thief, who hastened to reap the 
benefit of it." 

"And your desk must have been picked, Bede, it you are 
sure you put it in," observed Mr. Greatorex. 

" I'm sure of that," answered Bede. " But I don't see how 



COMMOTION IN THE OFFICE. 139 

the desk can have been picked. Not a thing in it was dis- 
placed, and the lock is uninjured." 

Bede had a frightful headache — which was the cause of his 
looking somewhat worse than usual that evening ; so Mr, 
Greatorex went to Sir Richard Yorke's. And in coming home 
he passed round by Scotland Yard. 

On the following morning, sitting in his room, he held a 
conference with his two sons, whom he had not seen on his 
return the previous night. 

" They think at Scotland Yard it must inevitably have been 
one of the clerks in your room, Bede," said Mr. Greatorex. 

" One would think so, but that it seems so very unlikely," 
ansv.-ered Bede. " Brown and Jenner have been with us quite 
long enough to prove their honesty; and the other two are 
gentlemen." 

" Their theory is this ; that some one, possessing easy 
access to your private room, opened the desk with a false 
key." 

" For the matter of that, the clerks on our side the house 
could obtain nearly if not quite as easy access to Bede's room 
through the other door," observed Frank Greatorex. 

"Yes. But you forget, Frank, that none of them on our 
side the house knew the cheque had been drawn out and left 
there. Jelf will be in by-and-by." 

The morning letters, recently delivered, lay before Mr. 
Greatorex, and he began to look at them one by one before 
opening them ; his usual custom. He came to one addressed 
to Bede, marked " Private " on both sides, and tossed it to 
his son ! 

Bede opened it. There was an inner envelope, sealed, and 
addressed and marked just like the outer one, which Bede 
opened in turn. Frank Greatorex, standing near his brother, 
was enabled to see that a very few lines formed its contents. 
Almost in a moment, before Bede could have read the whole, 
he crushed the letter together and thrust it into his pocket. 
Frank laughed. 

" Your correspondent takes his precautions, Bede. Was he 
afraid that Mrs. Bede " 

The words were meant as a jest, but Frank did not finish 
them, Bede turned from the room with a half-staggering 
movement, his countenance livid with some awful terror. 
J'rank simply stared after him, unable to say another word, 



140 ROLAND YORKE. 

"What was that?" cried Mr. Greatorex, looking up at the 
Tilirupt silence. 

" I don't know," said Frank. " Bede seems moonstruck 
with that letter he has had. It must contain tidings of some 
bother or other." 

" Then rely upon it, it is connected with his wife," severely 
spoke Mr. Greatorex. 

The news relating to the cheque fell upon the office like a 
thunderbolt. Every clerk in it felt uncomfortable, especially 
those attached to Mr. Bede's department. The clerk at the 
Bank, who had cashed the cheque, was questioned. It had 
been presented at the Bank early in the afternoon, about half- 
past one o'clock he said, or between that and two. He had 
not taken notice of the person who presented it, but seemed to 
remember that he was a tall dark man, with black whiskers. 
Had taken it and cashed it quite as a matter of course ; it was 
a common thing for strangers to the Bank to present the 
cheques of Greatorex and Greatorex. No ; he had not taken 
the number of the notes, for the best of all possible reasons — 
that he had paid it in gold, as requested. This clerk happened 
also to be the one to whom Sir Richard Yorke's son had pre- 
sented the second cheque ; he spoke to that gentleman of the 
fact of having cashed an exactly similar cheque an hour or two 
before; but Mr. Yorke seemed to intimate that it was all 
right ; in short, appeared offended at the subject being named 
to him. 

At present that comprised all the information they possessed. 

It was Mr. Bede Greatorex who made the communication to 
the clerks in his room. He was sitting at his desk in the front 
office when they arrived, — an unusual circumstance ; and 
when all were assembled and had settled to their several occu- 
pations, then he entered upon it. The cheque he had drawn 
out, as they might remember, on the previous morning for Sir 
Richard Yorke. He had locked it up subsequently in his 
desk in the other room. From this it had been abstracted, 
and cashed at the Bank. He spoke in a quiet, friendly manner, 
just in the tone he might have related it to a friend; not 
appearing to cast the least thought of suspicion upon any one 
of them. Nevertheless, no detective living could have watched 
their several demeanours, as they heard it, more keenly than 
did Mr. Bede Greatorex. 

The clerks seemed thunderstruck. Three of them gazed at 



COMMOTION IN THE OFFICE. }4^ 

him, unable for the moment to shape any reply : the other 
burst out at once. 

" The cheque gone ! Stolen out of the desk, and cashed at 
the Bank ! My goodness ! Who took it, sir ? " 

The words came from no one but Roland, you may be sure. 
Mr. Bede Greatorex went on to give a few details ; and 
Roland's next movement was to rush into the adjoining room 
without permission, and give a few tugs at the desk. Back he 
clattered in commotion. 

And here let it be remarked, en passant, that it is some- 
what annoying to have to apply so frequently the word 
"clatter" to Roland's progress, imparting no doubt a certain 
monotony to the narrative. But there is really no other 
expression that can be found to describe it. His steps were 
quick, and the soles of his boots made noise enough for ten. 

" I say, Mr. Bede Greatorex," he exclaimed, " it is no light 
hand that could open that desk without a key. I've had ex- 
perience in lifting weights over at Port Natal when helping to 
load the ships with coal " 

" Kindly oblige me by making less noise, Mr. Yorke," came 
the reproof. 

Which Roland seemed not to heed in the slightest. He 
tilted himself on to a high stool in the middle of the room, his 
legs dangling, just as though he had been at a free-and-easy 
meeting ; and there he sat, staring in consternation. 

" Will the Bank know the fellow again that cashed it ? " 

" My opinion is that the desk was opened v.'ith a key in the 
ordinary way," observed Mr. Bede Greatorex, referring to a 
previous remark of Roland's, but passing over his present 
c|uestion. 

" Perhaps you left your keys about ? " suggested Roland. 

" I did not leave them about, Mr. Yorke. I had them with 
me." 

"Well, this is a go I / say!" he resumed, with quite a 
burst of excitement, his face glowing : " who'll be at the loss 
of the money? Old Dick Yorke ?" 

" Ah, that is a nice question," said Bede Greatorex. 

'•I beg your pardon, sir," interposed Mr. Brown, who had 
been silent and thoughtful until nov\'. " Don't you think you 
must be mistaken in supposing you put the cheque in the 
desk ? I could understand it all so easily, it" " 

'■ I know I put it in my desk, and left it there locked up," 



i42 ROLAND YORKE. 

said Mr. Bede Greatorex, arresting the words. " What were 
you about to say ? " 

"If you had carried the cheque out, and dropped it inad- 
vertently in the street," concluded Mr. Brown, " it would have 
been quite easy to understand the matter. Some unprincipled 
man might have picked it up, and made off at once to the 
Bank with it, hazarding the risk he ran." 

" But I did nothing of the sort," said Bede : and Mr. Brown 
shook his head, as if he were hard of conviction. 

" Of course, there's not much difference in the degree of 
guilt, but many a man who would not for the world rifle a 
desk might appropriate a cheque he had picked up, sir." 

" I tell you, the cheque was taken from my desk," reiterated 
Mr. Bede Greatorex, slighty irritated at the persistency of Mr. 
Brown. 

" Well, sir, then all I can say is, that it is an exceedingly 
disagreeable thing for every one of us," said the head-clerk. 

"I do not wish to imply that it is so," said Bede Greatorex. 
" Mr. Yorke, allow me to suggest that sitting on that stool will 
not help you with your work." 

" I liope old Dick will be the one to lose it ! " cried Roland, 
with fervour, as he left the stool for his place by Mr. Hurst. 
" Forty-four pounds ! it's stunning. He's the meanest old 
chap alive, Mr. Greatorex. I'd almost have taken it myself 
from him." 

" Did you take it ? " questioned Hurst, in a whisper. 

" What's that ? " retorted Roland. 

He faced Hurst as he spoke, waiting for a reply. Then 
suddenly the proud countenance and bearing changed. The 
face fell, the clear eyes looked away, the brow became suffused. 
Hurst saw the signs, and felt sorry for what he had said ; had 
said in thoughtlessness rather than with any real meaning. For 
he knew that it had recalled to Roland Yorke a terrible 
escapade in his earlier life. 



'( 143 ) 
CHAPTER Vir. 

TAKING THE PLACE OF JELF. 

"It will stick in my gizzard for ever. I can see that. An 
awful clog, it is, when a fellow has dropped into mischief once 
in his life, and repented and atoned for it, that it must be cast 
in his teeth always ; cropping up at any hour, like a dead dog 
in the Thames. I might as well have stayed at Port Natal ! " 

Such was the mental soliloquy of Mr. Roland Yorke as he 
bent over his writing after that overwhelming question of 
Hurst's, "Did you take it?" Hurst, really grieved at having 
hurt his feelings, strove to soothe away what he had said. 

" I beg your pardon, old fellow," he Avhispered. " On my 
honour I spoke without thought." 

" I dare say you did ! " retorted Roland. 

" I meant no harm, Roland ; I did not indeed. Nothing 
connected with the past occurred to me." 

"You know it did^^ was the answer, and Roland turned his 
grieved face full on Hurst. "You know you wanted to bring 
up that miserable tim.e when I stole the twenty-pound note 
from old Galloway, and let the blame of it fall on Arthur 
Channing. Because I took that, you think I have taken this ! " 

" Hush ! You'll have them hear you, Yorke." 

" And that's just what you want. Why don't you go and 
tell them ? " demanded Roland, who was working himself into 
a passion. " Proclaim it aloud. Ring the bell, as the town- 
crier does at home on a market-day. Call Greatorex and 
Brown and Jenner up from their desks. Where's the good of 
taunting me in private ? " 

Hurst kept his head down and WTote on in silence, hoping 
to allay the storm he had inadvertently provoked. In spite of 
his protestations, he liad spoken in reference to that past 
transaction, and his tone had proclaimed the truth to Roland ; 
but still he had spoken thoughtlessly. Roland, as he believed, 
was no more guilty of this present loss than he himself was ; 
and he felt inclined to cut his tongue out for its haste. 

Pushing his hair from his hot face, biting his lips, drawing 
deep breaths in his anger and emotion, stood Roland. Pre- 



'i44 ROLAND YORKE. 

sently the pen was dashed down on the parchment before him^ 
blotting it and defacing it, though of course that went for 
nothing, and Roland stalked up to the desk of Mr. Bede 
Greatorex. 

" I wish to say, sir, that I did not steal the cheque." 

Mr. Bede Greatorex was taken by surprise. But he had by 
this time become pretty well acquainted with Roland and his 
impulsive ways ; he liked him in spite of his faults as a clerk ; 
otherwise he would never have put up with them. A pleasant 
smile crossed his lips as he answered ; answered in jest. 

" You know the old French proverb, I dare say, Mr. Yorke : 
' Qui s'excuse s'accuse ' ? " 

Roland made nothing of French at the best of times. At 
such moments as these, every pulse within him agitated to 
pain, it was about as intelligible as Hebrew. But, had he 
imderstood every word of the old saying, he could not have 
responded with more passionate earnestness. 

" I did not touch the cheque, sir ; I swear it. I never saw 
it after you took it from this room, or knew where you put it, 
or anything about it. It never once came into my thoughts." 

" But why do you trouble yourself to say this ?" asked Mr. 
Bede Greatorex, speaking seriously when he noticed the 
anxious tone, the emotion accompanying the denial. " No one 
thought of supposing you had taken it." 

" Hurst did, sir. He accused me." 

Hurst, in his vexation, pushed his work from him. Of all 
living mortals, surely Roland was the simplest ; he had no 
more tact than a child ! Mr. Bede Greatorex looked from one 
to the other. 

" I did nothing of the kind," said Hurst, speaking quietly. 
" The fact is, Roland Yorke can't take a joke. When he made 
that remark about .his uncle, Sir Richard, I said to him, 'Did 
you take the cheque ? ' speaking in jest of course ; and he took 
the question seriously." 

" There, go to your place, Mr. Y'orke," said Bede. 

"I wouldn't do such a thing as touch a cheque for the 
world ; or any other money that was not mine : no, not though 
it did belong to old Dick Yorke," earnestly reiterated Roland, 
keeping his ground. 

" Of course you would not. Don't be foolish, Mr. Yorke." 

" You believe me, I hope, sir." 

** Certainly. Do go to your desk. I am busy." 



Taring the place of jelf. 145 

Roland went back to it now, with a briglUer face. And 
Bede Greatorex thought with a smile how like a boy he was, 
in spite of his eight-and-twenty years, and his travels to Port 
Natal. These single-minded natures never grow old, or wise 
in the world's ways. 

Another minute, and a stranger had entered the office. And 
yet, not quite a stranger; for Bede Greatorex had seen him 
some few years before, and Hurst and Roland Yorke knew 
him at once. It was Mr. Butterby; more wiry than he used 
to be, more observant about the eyes. He had come in refer- 
ence to the loss of the cheque, and saluted Mr. Bede Greatorex : 
who looked surprised and not best pleased to see him. Jelf, 
the officer expected, was a man in whom Bede had confidence ; 
of this one's skill he knew nothing. 

" It was Sergeant Jelf whom we desired to see," said Bede, 
speaking curtly. 

*' It was," amicably replied Mr. Butterby. " Jelf received a 
telegram this morning, and had to go off unexpectedly. I'm 
taking his place for a bit." 

" Have you changed your abode from Helstonleigh to 
London ? " 

" Only tempory. My head-quarters are always at Helston- 
leigh. And now about this matter, Mr. Bede Greatorex ?"' 

" I think we need not trouble you. It can wait until 
Sergeant Jelf returns." 

" It might have to wait some time then," was Mr. Butterby's 
answer. " Jelf is off to Rooshia; St. Petersburg first ; and it's 
hard to say how long he'll stay there or where he may have to 
go to next. It's all right, sir. I've been this ten minutes 
with Mr. Greatorex, have learnt the particulars of the case, and 
got his instructions." 

Bede Greatorex bit his lip. This man, associated in his 
mind with that past trouble — the death of John Ollivera, who 
had been so dear to him, and was still so bitterly regretted — 
was distasteful to Bede rather than otherwise, and for certain 
other reasons he would have preferred Jelf There seemed 
however no help for it, as his father had given the man his 
instructions. 

Mr. Butterby turned his attention to the clerks. As a pre- 
liminary step to proceedings, he peered at them one by one 
under his eyebrows, while apparently studying the m.aps on 
the walls. Hurst favoured him with a civil nod. 

Roland Yorke. 10 



146 ROLAND YORKE. 

"How d'ye do, Butterby?" said Roland Yorke. "You 
don't get much fatter, Butterby." 

Mr. Butterby's answer to this was to stare at Roland for a 
full minute ; as if he could not believe his own eyes at seeing 
him there. 

"That looks like Mr. Roland Yorke !" 

" And it is him," said Roland. " He is a clerk here. Now 
then, Butterby ! " 

" I beg to state that I have full confidence in all my clerks," 
interposed Mr. Bede Greatorex. 

" Just so," acquiesced the detective. " Mr. Greatorex senior 
thinks the same. But it is requisite that I should put a few 
questions to them, for all that. I can't see my way clear until 
I have ascertained the movements of every clerk this house 
employs, from the time the cheque was put into your desk yester- 
day, sir. And I mean to do it," he concluded with composure. 

He was proceeding to examine the clerks, holding a Avorn 
note-book in his hand to pencil down any answer that might 
strike him, when Bede Greatorex again interposed, conscious 
that this might be looked upon by some of them as an 
unpardonable indignity. 

" I cannot think this necessary, Mr. Butterby. We place 
every confidence in our clerks ; I repeat it emphatically. Mr. 
Brown and Mr. Jenner have been with me for some years 
now ; Mr. Hurst and Mr. Yorke are gentlemen," 

"/know who they two are ; knew them long before you did, 
sir ; and their fathers too. Dr. Yorke, the late prebendary, 
put some business into my hands once. But now, just leave 
this matter with me, Mr. Bede Greatorex. Your father has 
done me the honour to leave it in my hands ; and, excuse me 
for saying it, so must you. All these four, now present to hear 
you mention their names with respect, understand that what I 
do is an ordinary matter of form the law officers require to be 
gone through, just as well as if I paid 'em the compUment of 
saying so." 

" Oh, very well," said Bede, acquiescing more cheerfully. 
" Step in to my private room with me for a moment first, Mr. 
Butterby." 

He held the door open as he spoke ; but, before the officer 
could turn to it, Mr. Greatorex came in. Bede shut the door 
again, and nodded to Mr. Butterby, as much as to say : " Never 
mind now." 



TAKING THE PLACE OF JELF. \\'j 

And so the questioning of the clerks began. Mr. Greatorex 
stayed for a short while to listen to it, and talked to them all 
in a friendly manner, as if to show that the proceeding was not 
instituted in consequence of any particular suspicion, but rather 
as an investigation in which the house, masters and clerks, 
were alike interested. The head-clerk went on with his work 
during the investigation as calmly as if Mr. Butterby had been 
a simple client ; the questions put to him, as to his own move- 
ments on the previous day, he answered quietly, calmly, and 
satisfactorily. Roland never wrote a line during the whole 
time ; he did nothing but stare ; and made comments with 
his usual freedom. When his turn came to receive the 
officer's polite attention, he exploded a little and gave very 
insolent retorts, out of what Mr. Butterby saw was sheer 
contrariness. 

The inquiry narrowed itself to this side of the house ; the 
rest of the clerks being able to prove, individually, that they 
had not been near Mr. Bede's room during the suspected 
hours of the previous day. Whereas it appeared, after some 
considerable sifting, that each one of these four could have 
entered it at will, and unseen. What with the intervening 
dinner-hour, and sundry outdoor commissions, every one of 
them had been left alone in the office separately for a longer 
or shorter time. It also came out that, with the exception 
of Jenner, each had been away from the office quite long 
enough to go to the Bank with the cheque, or to send it and 
secure the money. Roland Yorke, taking French leave, had 
stayed a good hour and a quarter at his dinner, having 
departed for it at a quarter -past one. Mr. Brown had 
been out on business for the house from one till half-past 
two ; and Mr. Hurst, who went to the stamp-office, was 
away nearly as long. In point of fact, the chief office-keeper 
had been little Jenner, who came back from dinner at half- 
past one. 

"And now," said the detective, after putting up the pocket- 
book, in which he had pencilled some of the above items of 
intelligence, " I should like to have a look at this desk of yours, 
Mr. Bede Greatorex." 

Bede led the way to his room, and shut himself in with the 
detective. While apparently taking no notice whatever of the 
questions put to his clerks, keeping his head bent over some 
papers as if his very life depended on their perusal, he had in 



MS ROLAND YORKE. 

reality listened keenly to the answers of all. Handing over 
the key of his desk, he allowed the officer to examine it at v/ill, 
and waited. He then sat down in his own chair and motioned 
the other to a seat opposite. 

" Mr. Butterby, I do not wish any further stir made in this 
business." 

Had Mr. Butterby received a cannon-ball on his head he 
could scarcely have experienced a greater shock of surprise, 
and for once he made no reply. Bede Greatorex calmly re- 
peated his injunction, in answer to the perplexed gaze cast on 
him. He wished nothing more done in the matter. 

"What on earth for?" cried Mr. Butterby, 

" I shall have to repose some confidence in you," pursued 
Mr. Bede Greatorex. " It will be safe, I presume ? " 

Butterby quite laughed at the question. Safe ! With him ! 
It certainly would be. If the world only knew the secrets he 
held in his bosom ! 

"And yet I can trust you only partially," resumed Bede 
Greatorex. " Not for my own sake ; I have nothing to con- 
ceal, and should like things fully investigated ; but for the sake 
of my father and family generally. Up to early post-time this 
morning I was more anxious for Jelf, that he might take the 
loss in hand, than ever my father was." 

Bede Greatorex paused. But there came no answering 
remark from his attentive listener, and he went on again. 

" I received a private note by this morning's post which 
altered the aspect of things, and gave me a clue to the real 
taker of the cheque. Only a very faint clue : a suspicion 
rather : and, that, vague and uncertain : but enough to cause 
me, in the doubt, to let the matter drop. In fact there is 
no choice left to me. We must put up with the loss of the 
money." 

Mr. Butterby sat with his hands on his knees, a favourite 
attitude of his : his head bent a little forward, his eyes fixed 
on the speaker. 

" I don't quite take you, Mr. Greatorex," said he. " You 
must speak out more plainly." 

Bede Greatorex paused in hesitation. This communication 
was distasteful, however necessary he might deem it, and he 
felt afraid of slipping a dangerous word inadvertently. 

" The letter was obscurely worded," he slowly said, " but, if 
I understand it rightly, the proceeds of the cheque have found 



TAKING THE PLACE OF JELF. 149 

their way into the hands of one whom neither my father nor I 
would prosecute. To do so would bring great pain upon us 
both, perhaps injury. The pain to my father would be such 
that I dare not show him the letter, or tell him I have received 
it. For his sake, Mr. Butterby, you and I must both hush the 
matter up." 

I\Ir. Butterby felt very much at sea. A silent man by nature 
and habit, he sat still yet, and listened for more. 

" There will be no difficulty, I presume ? " 

" Let us understand each other, sir. If I take your meaning 
correctly, it is this. Somebody is mixed up in the affair whose 
name it won't do to bring to light. One of the family, I 
suppose ? " 

Mr. Butterby had to wait for an answer. Bede Greatorex 
paused ere he gave it. 

" If not an actual member of the family, it is one so nearly 
connected with it, that he may almost be called such." 

"It's a man, then?" 

" It is a man. Will you work with me in this, so as to 
keep suspicion from my father? Tacitly let him think you 
are doing what you can to investigate the affair. When no 
result is brought forth, he will suppose that you have been 
unsuccessful." 

" Of course, sir, if you tell me I am not to go on with it, 
why I won't, and it is at an end. Law bless me ! Lots of 
things are put into our hands one day; and, the next, the 
family comes and says, ' Hush 'em up.' " 

" So far good, Mr. Butterby. But now, I wish you, for my 
own satisfaction, to make some private investigation into it. 
Quite secretly, you understand : and if you can learn anything 
as to the thief, bring the news quietly to me." 

Mr. Butterby thought this was about as complete a contra- 
diction to what had gone before as it had been ever his lot to 
listen to. He took refuge in his silent gaze and waited. Bede 
Greatorex put his elbow on the table and his hand to his head 
as he spoke. 

"If I were able to confide the whole case to you, Mr. 
Butterby, you w^ould see how encompassed it is with doubts 
and difficulties. I have reason to fancy that the purloiner of 
the cheque out of this desk must have been one of the cleiks 
in my room. I think this for two reasons ; one is, that I don't 
sec how any one else could have had access to it/' 



I50 ROLAND YORKE. 

" But, sir, you stood it cut to their faces just now that you 
did not suspect them." 

" Because it will not do for them to know that I do. I assure 
you, Mr. Butterby, this is a most deUcate and dangerous affair. 
I wish to my heart it had never happened." 

" Do you mean that the clerk, in taking it — if he did take it 
— was acting as the agent of some other party ? " 

Bede Greatorex nodded. " Yes, only that." 

"But ihafs enough to transport him, you know," cried 
Butterby, slightly drifting from the argument. 

" If we could bring him to book, yes. But that must not be 
done. I dotit see who else it could have been," added Bede, 
communing with himself rather than addressing Mr. Butterby ; 
and his face wore a strangely perplexed look. 

" Could any of the household — the maidservants, for instance 
— get into this room ? " asked Mr. Butterby. 

" There's not one of them would dare to risk it in the day- 
time. They are in the other house. No, no ; I fear we must 
look to one of the young men in the next room.'' 

Mr. Butterby nodded with satisfaction : matters seemed to 
be taking a more reasonable turn. 

"Let's see; there's four of them," he began, beginning to 
tell the clerks off on his fingers. " The manager. Brown — 
confidential, I think, you said " 

"I did not say confidential," interrupted Bede Greatorex. 
" I said we placed great confidence in him. There's a dis- 
tinction, Mr. Butterby." 

"Of course. Then there's the little man, Jenner; and the 
others. Hurst and Yorke. Have you any doubt yourself as to 
anyone of them?" quickly asked Mr. Butterby, looking full 
at the lawyer. 

Bede Greatorex hesitated. " I cannot say that I have. It 
would be so wrong, you know, to cast a doubt on either, 
without sufficient cause ; nothing but what may be a passing 
fancy, without foundation." 

" Speak out, Mr. Bede Greatorex. It's all in the day's 
work. If there is really nothing, it won't hurt him; if there 
is, I may be able to follow it up. Perhaps it's one of the two 
gentlemen ? " 

" If it be any one of the four, Mr. Hurst." 

The detective so far forgot his manners as to break into 
a low whistle. 



TAKING THE PLACE OF JELF. 151 

^' Mr. Hurst ! — or Mr. Yorkc, do you mean ? " he cried, in 
his surprise. 

" Not Mr. Yorke, certainly. AVhy should you think of 
him?'" 

"Oh, nothing," carelessly answered Butterby. "Hurst 
seems an upright young man, sir." 

" It is so trifling a doubt I have of him, the lifting of a straw, 
as may be said, that I should be sorry to think he is not 
upright. Still, I have reason for deciding that he is the most 
likely, of the four, to be suspected." 

At that moment, Josiah Hurst, the gentleman in question, 
interrupted them ; bringing a message to Mr. Bede Greatorex, 
An important client was waiting to see him. Mr. Butterby 
took a more curious look at the young man's countenance than 
he had ever done in the old days at Helstonleigh. 

"The lawyer's wrong," thought he to himself. "He is no 
taker of cheques, he isn't." 

" I shall be at liberty in one minute, Mr. Hurst. Shut the 
door. You understand ? " he added in a low tone to the 
detective, as they stood up together in parting. " IsA\ that I 
have said to you must be kept secret ; doubly secret from my 
father. He must suppose you to be at work, investigating; 
whereas, in point of fact, t/ie thing must drop. Only, if you can 
gain any private information, bring it to me." 

Mr. Butterby answered by one of his emphatic nods. "' You 
see there's nothing come up yet about that other thing," he said. 

"What other thing?" 

" The death of ]\lr. Ollivera." 

" And not likely to," returned Bede Greatorex. " That was 
over and done with at the time." 

" Just my opinion," said the detective. " Jenner was his 
clerk in chambers." 

" Yes. A faithful litde fellow." 

" Looks it. Who's the other one — Mr. Brown ? " 

" I can only tell you that he is Mr. Brown ; I know nothing 
of his family. We have had him three or four years." 

" Had a good character with him, I suppose ? Knew where 
he'd been, and all that ? " 

" Undoubtedly. My father is particular. Why do you 
ask ? " 

'* Only because he is the only one in your room that I don't 
know something of. Good morning, Mr. Bede Greatorex." 



152 



ROLAND YORKE. 



Bede shut the door, and Mr. Butterby walked away, ob- 
serving things indoors and out, while he ruminated on what he 
had heard. Sundry reports, connected with the domestic hfe of 
Bede Greatorex, were familiar to his comprehensive intelligence. 

" It's a rum go, this," quoth he, making his comments. 
" He meant his wife, he did ; I'd a great mind to say so. 
Hush it up? of course they must. And Madam keeps the 
forty-four pounds. But now — does he suspect it might have 
been one of the clerks helped her to it, or was it only a quiet 
way of stopping my questions as to how the ' member of the 
family ' could have got indoors to the desk ? She grabbed his 
key, she did, and took out the cheque herself: leastways I 
should say so. Stop a bit, though. Who cashed it at the 
Bank? Perhaps one of 'em did help her. 'Twasn't Hurst, I 
know; nor little Jenner, either. Don't think it was young 
Yorke, in spite of that old affair at Galloway's. T'other, 
Brown, I don't know. Any way," concluded Mr. Butterby, 
his thoughts recurring to Bede Greatorex and his wife, " he 
has his torment in her ; and he shows it. Never saw a man so 
altered in all my life : looks, spirits, manners : it's just as though 
there was a blight upon him." 

That the detective's presence in the office had not been 
agreeable to the clerks, will be readily understood. It had to 
be accepted as an evil ; as other evils must be accepted for 
which there is no help. Roland Yorke felt inclined to resent 
it openly, and thought the fates were against him still, as they 
had been at Port Natal. What with that unlucky question of 
Hurst's and the appearance of Butterby on the scene, both 
recalling the miserable escapade of years ago that he would 
give all the world to forget, Roland, hot-headed and hot- 
heatted, was in a state of mind to do any mad thing that came 
uppermost. And the morning wore away. 

" Why don't you go to dinner, Mr. Yorke ? " 

The question came from the manager. Roland, in his per- 
plexity of mind and feelings, had unconsciously let the usual 
time slip by. Catching up his hat, he tore through the street 
at full speed until he reached the Bank, into which he went 
with a burst. 

" I want to see one of the principals." 

What with the haste, the imperative demand, and the im- 
posing air and stature, Roland was at once attended to, and a 
gentleman, nearly as little as Jenner, came forward. 



TAKING THE PLACE OF JELF. 133 

" Look here," said Roland. " Just you bring me face to 
face with the fellow who cashed that cheque yesterday. The 
clerk, you know." 

" Which cheque ? " came the very natural question from the 
little gentleman, as he gazed at the applicant. 

" The one there's all this shindy over at Greatorex and 
Greatorex's. Drawn out in favour of old Dick Yorke." 

Of course it was not precisely the way to go about things. 
Before Roland's request was complied with, a little informa- 
tion was requested as to what his business might be, and who 
he was. 

" I am Mr. Roland Yorke." 

" Any relation to Sir Richard Yorke ?" 

" His nephew by blood ; none at all by friendship. Old 
Dick — but never mind him now. If you'll let me see the 
clerk, sir, you will hear what I want with him." 

The clerk, standing behind the counter, had heard the 
colloquy. Roland dashed up to him so impulsively that the 
little gentleman could with difficulty keep pace. 

"Now, then," began Roland to the wondering clerk, "look 
at me — look well. Am I the man who presented that cheque 
yesterday ? " 

"No, sir, certainly not," was the clerk's reply. "There's 
not the least resemblance." 

" Very good," said Roland, calming down a little. " I thought 
it well to come and let you see me ; that's all." 

"But why so?" asked the principal, thinking Sir Richard 
Yorke's nephew, though a fine man, must be rather an eccen- 
tric one. 

" Why ! "Why, because I am in Bede Greatorex's office, and 
we've had a policeman amongst us this morning, looking us 
up. They say the cheque was brought here by a tall fellow 
with black whiskers. As that description applies to me, and 
to none of the others, I thought I'd come and let you see me. 
That's all. Good morning." 

Dashing out with the same commotion with which he had 
entered, Roland, still neglecting his dinner, went skimming 
back to the house of Greatorex and Greatorex. Not to enter 
the office, but to pay a visit to Mrs. Bede's side of it 

Not very long before this hour, jNIr. Bede Greatorex, all the 
cares of his business on his shoulders, not the least of them 
(taking it in all its bearings) being the new one connected with 



154 ROLAND YORKE. 

the stolen cheque, went upstairs for luncheon and a few minutes' 
relaxation. He found his wife full of her cares. Mrs. Bede 
Greatorex had cards out for that afternoon, bidding the great 
world to a kettle-drum ; and she was calculating what quantity 
of ices and strawberries to order in, with sundry other momen- 
tous questions. 

The rooms were turned upside down. A great crowd was 
expected, and small articles of furniture, holding fragile orna- 
ments, were being put out of the way, lest they should come to 
grief in the crush. 

"Yes, that quantity of ice will be sufficient; and be sure 
take care that you have an abundance of strawberries," con- 
cluded Mrs. Bede Greatorex to the attendant, who had been 
receiving her orders. "Chocolate? Of course. Where's the 
use of asking senseless questions? Bede," she added, seeing 
her husband standing there, " I know how you detest the smell 
of chocolate, saying it makes you feel sick, and brings on head- 
aches; but I cannot dispense with it in my rooms. Other 
people give it, and so must I." 

" Give what you like," he said wearily. " What is it you are 
going to have ? A ball ? " 

"A ball in the afternoon ! Well done, Bede ! It's a kettle- 
drum." 

"The house is never free from disturbance, Louisa," he 
rejoined, as a man went by with a table. 

" You should let me live away from it. And then you 
wouldn't smell the chocolate. And the doors would not be 
blocked up for ever with carriages, as you grumble they are 
now. With a house in Hyde Park " 

" Hush ! " said Bede, in a whisper. " What did I tell you 
the other day ? — That our expenses are so large, I could not 
live elsewhere, if I would. Don't wear me out with this ever- 
lasting theme, Louisa." 

It was not precisely the hearth for a man, oppressed with 
the world's troubles, to find refuge in; neither was she the 
wife. Bede sighed in very weariness, and turned to go away, 
thinking how welcome to him, if he could only get transplanted 
to it, would be a corner in some far-off desert, never before 
trodden by the foot of man. 

A great noise on the stairs, as if a coach-and-six were coming 
up, followed by a smart knocking at the .room door. Bede 
turned to escape, thinking it might possibly be the advance- 



TAKING THE PLACE OF JELF. 155 

guard of the kettle-drum. No one but Mr. Roland Yorke, 
And Roland (who had come up on a vain search for Miss 
Channing), seeing his master there, at once began to tell of 
where he had just been and for what purpose. To keep his 
own counsel on any matter wliatever, would have been ex- 
tremely difificult to Roland. 

"It is said, you know, Mr. Bede Greatorex, that the man, 
who cashed the cheque and got the money, was a tall fellow 
with black whiskers; so I thought it well to go and show myself. 
I am tall," drawing up his head ; " I have black whiskers ; and 
no one else in your room answered to the description." 

"It was very unnecessary, Mr. Yorke. You were in Port 
Natal." 

" In Port Natal ! " echoed Roland, staring. " What has 
Port Natal to do with this ? " 

Bede Greatorex laughed sUghtly. In his absorption, he had 
suffered his mind to run on other things. 

"As to unnecessary — I don't think so, after what that ill- 
natured Hurst said. And perhaps you'd not, sir, if you knew 
all," added simple Roland, thinking of Mr. Galloway's bank- 
note. "Any wa}', I have been to the Bank to show myself'' 

" What did the Bank say to you ? " questioned Bede Greato- 
rex, his tone one of jest. 

" The Bank said I was not in the least like the fellow ; he 
was tall, but not as tall as I am, and they are nearly sure he 
had a beard as well as whiskers. I thought I'd tell you, sir." 

Mrs. Bede Greatorex, listening to this with curious ears, 
inquired what the trouble was, and heard for the first time of 
the loss of the cheque, the probable loss of the forty-four 
pounds. Had Mr. Butterby been present to mark her sur- 
prise, he might have dismissed his opinion that she was the 
recipient alluded to by Bede Greatorex, and perhaps have 
mentally begged her pardon for the mistaken thought. 

" Will you come to my kettle-drum, Mr. Roland ! " 

"No, I won't," said Roland. "Thank you all the same," 
he added a minute after, as if to atone for the bluntness of the 
reply. "I've been uncommonly put out to-day, Mrs. Bede 
Greatorex ; and when a fellow is put out, he does not care for 
drums or kettles either." 

However, when the kettle-drum was in full swing, about five 
o'clock in the afternoon, and the stairs were crowded with 
talkers and trains, Roland, thinking better of it, elbowed his 



156 ROLAND YORKE. 

way up amidst them. People who did not know him, thoughi 
he must be the Lord Chamberlain, or some such great man, 
for Roland had a way of holding his own and tacitly asserting 
himself, as nobody else did. He caught sight of Gerald, who 
averted his head at once ; he saw Mrs. Hamish Channing, and 
she was the only guest he talked to. Roland was again looking 
for Annabel. He found her presently in the refreshment-room, 
seeing that Miss Jane did not make herself ill with strawberries 
and cream. 

Into her ear, very much as though it had been a haven of 
refuge, Roland confided his wrongs ; Mr. Hurst's allusion re- 
garding the loss, his errand to the Bank, and in short all the 
events of the morning. 

" I couldn't have done it by /w/;," said Roland. " Had he 
made a fool of himself when he was young and wicked, I could 
no more have flung it in his teeth in after-years, than I could 
fling it in yours, Annabel. When I've been repenting of the 
mad act ever since ; never going to my bed at night or rising 
in the morning, without thinking of it and — dashing it : but I 
was going to say another word : and hoping and planning how 
best to recompense every soul that suffered by it ! It was too 
bad of him." 

" Yes it was," warmly answered Annabel, her cheeks flush- 
ing with the earnestness of her sympathy. Roland, I never 
liked Josiah Hurst." 



CHAPTER VIII. 

GERALD YORKE IN A DILEMMA. 

Mr. Gerald Yorke stood in his chambers — as he was pleased 
to style the luxurious rooms he occupied in a most fashionable 
quarter of London. Gerald liked luxury and fashion, and 
went in for both. He was occupied very much as Mrs. Bede 
Greatorex had been earlier in the day — namely, in casting a 
glance round his rooms, and the supplies of good things just 
brought into them. For Gerald was to give a wine and supper 
party that night. 

Running counter to the career planned for him — the Church 



GERALD YORKE IN A DILEMMA. 157 

— Gerald had embarked in one of his own choosing. He 
determined to be a public man ; and had ambitious visions of 
a future premiership, or a seat in the cabinet at least. He 
came to London, got introductions through his family connec- 
tions, and hoped to be promoted to some government appoint- 
ment to start with. As a preliminary step, he plunged into 
society and high living ; going out amidst the great world and 
receiving men in return. This requires some amount of cash, 
as every one who has tried it knows, however unlimited one's 
credit may be; and Gerald Yorke laboured under the draw- 
back of possessing no credit at all. A handsome present from 
Lord Carrick when his lordship was in funds, or an occasional 
five-pound note, screwed out of his mother's shallow purse, 
constituted all his resources. So Gerald did as a great many 
more do — he took to writing as a temporary means of living. 
Of genius he had none ; but after a little practice he became a 
sufficiently ready writer. He tried political articles, he wrote 
short stories for periodicals, he obtained a post on one or two 
good papers as a reviewer. Gerald liked to review works of 
fiction best : they gave him the least trouble : and no one 
could cut and slash a rival's book to shreds more effectively 
than he. Friendly with a great many in the literary world, 
and with men belonging to the press, Gerald found plenty of 
work put into his hands, for which he was well paid. At last 
he began to try his hand at a book himself. If he could only 
get through it, he thought, and it made a hit and brought him 
in some money, what a glorious thing it would be ! 

As the time went on, so did Gerald's hopes. The book 
progressed towards completion (in spite of sundry stumbling 
blocks, where he had appeared to stick fast), and success, with 
its attendant harvest, drew almost as near to his view, as its 
necessity was in reality. For the money earned by his stray 
papers and reviews, was as a drop of water in the ocean of 
Gerald's needs. 

Look at the tall, fine man as he stands there in his evening 
dress, with his back to the fireplace. But there is a savage 
frown of perplexity and ill-temper on his generally cynical face, 
for something has occurred to annoy him. 

And yet, that had been in its earlier hours such a red-letter 
day ! In the morning Gerald had put the finishing touch to 
his book, and complacently written the title. In the afternoon 
he had been inlro hiced to a great literary don at Mrs. Bede 



IS8 ROLAND YORl^E. 

Greatorex's drum, who might prove of use in the future. 
Calling later upon a friend, he had dined with him, and then 
returned home and dressed for the opera, his supper guests 
being bidden for twelve o'clock. He was just going out on his 
way to the opera, when two letters met his eye, which he had 
overlooked on entering. The one, he saw, was in the hand- 
writing of a creditor who was becoming troublesome ; the other 
in that of his wife, and marked " Immediate." 

Gerald Yorke had been guilty of one imprudent act, for 
which there was no remedy. When only twenty-one, he had 
married. The young lady, Winnifred Eales, was of no family, 
and did not possess any money. Gerald was taken by her 
pretty face, and was foolish enough to marry her off-hand ; 
saddling himself with a wife without having the wherewithal to 
keep one. Little did Gerald Yorke's acquaintances in London 
suspect that the fast and fashionable young man (only in his 
twenty-sixth year now, though looking older) had a wife and 
three children ! Had the question been put to Gerald, " Are 
you married ? " he would have briefly acknowledged it ; but he 
never volunteered the information. His wife was his wife ; he 
did not wish to repudiate either her or his children ; but 
he had long ago found them an awful incumbrance, and kept 
them in the background. To do so was less cost to him. 
Had Gerald come into two or three thousand a year, he would 
have set up his tent grandly, have had his family home to it 
forthwith, and introduced them to the world : until that 
desirable time should arrive, he had meant them to remain in 
the little country cottage-home in Gloucestershire, where he 
had placed them, and where they knew nobody. But that his 
wife was tolerably patient and very persuadable, she would 
have struck long before. She did grumble ; when Gerald 
visited her she was fretful, tearful, fractious^ and complaining. 
In fact, she was little better than a child herself, and not by 
any means a strong-minded one. 

But the crisis had come. Gerald tore open the letter, with 
its ominous word " Immediate," and found unwelcome news. 
For two or three blissful moments, he did not believe his eye- 
sight, and then the letter was dashed down in vehement 
passion. 

" Winny's mad ! " 

Winny (as Gerald's wife was generally called) tired of her 
lonely home, of the monotonous care of her children, tired 



GERALD YORKE IN A DILEMMA. 159 

above all of waiting month after month, year after year, for the 
fulfilment of his promises to put matters upon a more satis- 
factory footing, had taken the initiative into her own hands. 
She informed her husband that she had given up the cottage, 
sold off its furniture by auction, and should arrive with the 
children at Paddington at three o'clock the next day, where 
he must meet her if he could. If not, they should drive at 
once to him at his chambers, or to his club, the Young 
England. A slight concluding hint was annexed that he need 
not attempt to stop her by telegraph, for the telegraph people 
had received orders not to bring her up any messages that 
might arrive. 

A pretty good announcement, that, for a man in society ! 
Gerald stood very much as if he had received a blow that had 
half-blinded him. JJVia^ was he to do with them when they 
arrived? Never in all his life had he been so pushed into 
a corner. The clock went ticking on, on ; but Gerald did not 
heed it. 

His servant came in, under pretence of bringing in a dish 
of fruit, and ventured to remind him of the engagement at the 
opera, thinking his master must have forgotten it. Gerald 
sent the opera very far away, and ordered the man to shut tlie 
door. 

In truth he was in no mood for the opera now. Had it 
been possible, he would even have put off his supper-party. 
The other letter, which he opened with a kind of desperation, 
contained threats of unpleasant proceedings, unless a debt, 
long sued for, was paid within twenty-four hours. Money, 
(lerald must have, and he did not know where to find it. 
His literary pay had been forestalled wherever it could be. 
He had that day applied to young Richard Yorke (or Vincent, 
as Gerald generally called him, being the finer name of his 
cousin's two names) for a loan, and been refused. Apart from 
the future difficulties connected with Winny and the children, 
it would take some cash in pocket to establish them in lodgings. 

" Winny wants a good shaking for causing me this trouble," 
earnestly soliloquized Gerald in his dilemma, that fashionable 
drawl of his, kept for the world, not discernible in private life. 
"Suppose she should turn restive, and insist on coming /lere? 
Good Heavens ! a silly, untidy wife, and three badly-kept 
children ! " 

He walked to the sideboard, dashed out a glass of some 



t6o ROLAND YORKE. 

cordial with his unsteady hand, and drank it, for the picture 
unnerved him. 

" If I could get my book accepted by a publisher, and an 
advance made upon it," thought Gerald, returning to his 
place on the hearthrug, " I might scrape along. Some of those 
confounded publishers are so independent ; they'll keep a 
manuscript for tvv'elve months and never look at it." 

A short time before this, Gerald had tried his hand at a 
play, which ill-natured managers had hitherto refused to accept. 
Gerald of course thought the refusal arose from nothing but 
prejudice, as others sometimes do in similar cases. He went 
on with his soliloquy. 

" I think I'll get some fellow to look over my novel and 
give me an opinion upon it — which I can repeat to a publisher. 
Write it down if necessary. That's what I ought to have done 
by the drama : one is apt to be overlooked in these days with- 
out a special recommendation. Let's see? Who is there? 
Hamish Channing. Nobody so good. His capacities are 
first-rate, and I'll make him read it at once. If Vincent 
Yorke " 

The soliloquy was brought to an end. Some commotion 
outside, as if a visitor had sought to enter and was stopped, 
caught Gerald's startled ear ; but he knew his servant was 
trustworthy. The next moment the door opened, and the man 
spoke. 

''Mr. Yorke, sir." 

^Vho should walk in, with his usual disregard to ceremony, 
but Roland I Gerald stared in utter astonishment ; and, 
when satisfied that it was in truth his brother, frowned awfully. 
Gerald in his elevated sphere might find it difficult to get 
along ; but to have an elder brother so down in the world as 
to accept any common employment that offered itself, who 
lived in one room, and not scruple to own it, was a very 
different matter. And Gerald's intention was to wash his 
hands of Roland and his low surroundings, as completely as 
Sir Richard Yorke could have done. 

Roland took a survey of things in general, and saluted his 
brother with off-hand cordiaUty. He knew his presence there 
was unacceptable, but m his good-nature would not appear to 
remember it. The handsome rooms, lacking no signs of 
wealth and comfort, the preparations for the entertainment 
that peeped out here and there, Gerald himself (as Roland 



GERALD VORKE IN A DILEMMA. idt 

would have expressed it) in full fig ; all seemed to denote 
that life was sunny in this quarter, and Roland thought it was 
fine to be Gerald. 

Gerald slowly extended one unwilling finger in response to 
Roland's offered grasp, and waited for him to explain his 
business, not inviting him to sit down. It was not he that 
would allow Roland to think he might be a visitor there at 
will. Roland, however, put himself into a comfortable velvet 
lounging-chair of his own accord, as easily as he might have 
put himself into the old horsehair thing at Mrs. Jones's : and 
then proceeded to disclose his errand. 

It was this. Upon going home that night at seven — for he 
had to remain late in the office to make up for the time lost at 
Mrs. Bede's kettle-drum — Roland found a letter from Lord 
Carrick, who was still in the shade. Amidst some personal 
matters, it contained a confidential message for Gerald, v»hich 
Roland was charged to deliver in person. This was no other 
than a reminder to Gerald that a certain pecuniary obligation 
for which he and Lord Carrick were equally responsible (the 
latter having made himself so, to accomodate Gerald, but 
received no benefit from it) was becoming due, and that 
Gerald would have to meet it. " Tell him, my boy, that I'd 
willingly find the means for him if I could, and as much more 
at the back of it," wrote the good-natured peer : " but I'm 
regularly out of every^hmg for the time being, and ca?ii 
meet it." 

It may easily be conceived that this errand did not tend 
to increase Roland's welcome. Gerald bit his full lips with 
suppressed passion, and could willingly have struck his brother. 
Vincent Yorke, perhaps as an ostensible plea for not respond- 
ing to Gerald's application that day, for the loan of twenty 
pounds, said they might have to lose forty-four, and had 
narrated the particulars of the missing cheque, adding that he 
should think suspicion must lie on one of the four clerks in 
Bede Greatorex's office. That was quite enough for Gerald. 

In anything but a temperate way he now attacked his 
brother, not saying, Did you steal the cheque? but accusing 
him of doing it, and bringing up the old transaction at Mr. 
Galloway's. There ensued a sharp, short quarrel : which might 
have been far sharper on Roland's side but for the aspersion 
already cast on him by Hurst : that seemed to have paved the 
way for this, and deadened its sting. 

Roland Yorke. 11 



i62 ROLAND YORKE. 

"Look here, Gerald," said Roland, calming down, but 
speaking with an emotion at which Gerald stared. " My taking 
that twenty-pound note from Galloway was an awful mistake ; 
the one great mistake of my life, for I shall never " 

" CaU it a theft," roared Gerald. 

"For I shall never make such another," went on Roland, 
just as though he had not heard the interruption. " It will 
stick to me always, more or less, be everlastingly cropping up ; 
but, for all that, it was the best thing that could have happened 
to me." 

Gerald answered with a sneer. 

" It sent me out to Port Natal. I should never have gone 
but for that, however much I might have talked of it. I 
wanted to put Arthur Channing straight with the world, and 
I couldn't stay and face the world while I did so. Well, I 
went out to Port Natal : and I stayed there, trying to get into 
funds, and come home with some money in my hand. I 
stayed long enough to knock a great deal out of me that 
wanted knocking out; idleness, folly, and senseless pride. 
I'm not one of your good and brave ones yet, such as Arthur 
Channing is ; but I've learnt at any rate to do a little for 
myself and to be tolerant to others ; I've learned not to be 
ashamed to work honestly for my bread before eating it. 
There." 

" The sooner you take yourself out of my rooms, the better," 
said Gerald. " I am expecting friends." 

" Don't fancy I'm going to wait till they come ; I wouldn't 
intrude either on you or on them," retorted Roland, turning to 
depart. " I came up on your business, Gerald, to-night, to 
oblige Carrick ; but I shall tell him to choose some one else 
for a messenger if he wants to send again. Good night." 

Gerald gave no answer. Unless banging the door after 
Roland with his foot could be called one. 

He stood ruminating for a short time alone. The message 
certainly tended still further to complicate Gerald's perplexi- 
ties. Although he had originally assured Lord Carrick that he 
should not look to him to meet the bill, he really had done so : 
for no one looked in vain to that imprudent and good-hearted 
man, when he had it in his power to help. 

''There's nothing for it but the novel," decided Gerald 
presently. " What's the time ? " 

Glancing over his shoulder, he saw that it was not yet half- 



Gerald yorke in a dilemma. 163 

past nine. As his guests would not arrive until twelve, there 
was time, and to spare, for a visit to Hamish Channing. So, 
packing up his manuscript, he went forth. 

Hamish sat in his writing-room as usual this evening, work- 
ing closely. His face looked weary as the light from the 
candle, the shade temporarily removed, fell upon it. Ever 
good-humoured, ever full of hope, of loving kindness to the 
whole world, he cared not for his weariness ; nay, was not 
conscious of it. 

An arrival at the street-door, and a bustle in the next room 
following closely upon it ; a child's laughter and light chatter. 
Hamish knew what caused it. Little Miss Nelly had returned 
from a child's party, her hands laden with fairy gifts. In she 
came ; papa could not keep the door quite closed from her ; 
in her white muslin frock with the broad blue sash, and the 
narrow blue ribbon on her neck, holding the locket with 
Grandpapa Channing's likeness in it. Hamish caught up the 
lovely little vision and began fondling it ; kissing the bright 
cheeks, the chattering lips, the pretty neck. 

"And now Nelly must go," he said, "for I have my work 
to do." 

" A great deal of work ? " 

" Oceans of it, Nelly." 

" Mamma says you work too much," returned Nell}', 
looking at him with her brilliant, sweet blue eyes, so like 
his own. 

"Tell mamma I say she knows nothing about it." 

"Jane Greatorex was there, papa, and Aunt Annabel. She 
told me to tell you, too, not to work so much." 

"Jane Greatorex ?" 

" Now, papa, you know ! Annabel." 

" We'll have mamma and Annabel taken up for conspiracy. 
Good night, my little treasure : I would keep you here always 
if I could." 

" Let me say my prayers to you to-night, papa," whispered 
the child. 

He was about to say no, but seemed to change his mind, 
and quitted the chair at the writing-table for another. Then 
Nelly, throwing all her gifts on the table in a heap, knelt down 
and put up her hands to say her prayers. When she had con- 
cluded them, he did not let her rise, but laid his hand upon 
her head and kept it there in silence, as if praying himself. 



i64 kOLAND YORKE. 

And Nelly went out with some awe, for papa's eyes looked as 
if they had tears in them. 

Hamish had settled to work again, and Nelly would be a 
myth until the next morning, when Gerald Yorke arrived, 
dashing up in a hansom. He came in to Hamish at once, 
carrying his manuscript. 

"You'll do me a favour, won't you, old friend?" 

"What is it?" asked Hamish, the sunny smile on his face 
already an earnest of compliance. And Gerald undid his 
manuscript. 

"I want you to read this; to go over it carefully and atten- 
tively ; and then give me your opinion upon it. I thought 
once of asking Caustic, but your judgment is worth more than 
his, because I know you'll give me a true report." 

Gerald had either been in too much haste to make a fair 
copy for the press, or else had deemed that point superfluous. 
As Hamish caught sight of the blurred and blotted Hues in 
Gerald's notably illegible hand, he hesitated. He was so 
/?/// of work, and this would indeed be a task. Only for the 
tenth part of a minute, however ; he could sit up at night and 
get through it. 

" At once," said Gerald. '^ If you could put away your own 
work for it, I should be obliged ; I have a reason for wishing 
to have it back directly. And Hamish, you'll give me your 
real opinion in strict candour " 

" Do you say that seriously ? " asked Hamish, his tone one of 
serious meaning, 

" Of course I do. Or why should I ask you to read it 
at all ? " 

" Not very long ago, a friend brought me a work he had 
written, begging me to look over it, and tell him what I 
thought of it, without disguise, just as you do now," spoke 
Hamish. " Well, I thought he meant it, and did as he re- 
quested. Above all, he had said, point out faults to me. I 
did point out the faults. I told him my opinion candidly and 
kindly, and it was not a favourable one. Gerald, I lost my 
friend from that hour." 

Gerald laughed. The cases, he thought, were totally dis- 
similar. Had an angel come down from Heaven and said that 
an unfavourable opinion could be pronounced upon this work 
of his, he had not believed it. 

" Don't be afraid, Channing. I shall thank you to give me 



GERALD YORKE IN A DILEMMA. 165 

your true opinion just as though the manuscript belonged to 
some stranger, who would never know what you had said." 

" I don't like the title," observed Hamish, accepting the 
conditions. 

" Not like the title ? " 

"No." 

Gerald had called it by a title more wonderful than attrac- 
tive. Hamish Channing's good sense discovered the mistake 
at once. 

" We made it up between us one night over our drink ; one 
put in one word and" one another," said Gerald, alluding to 
sundry confreres of his. " After all, Hamish, it's the book 
that makes the success, not the title." 

" But a good book should possess a good title." 

" Well, the title can go for now : time enough to alter that 
later," concluded Gerald, rather testily. " You'll lose no time, 
Channing ? " 

" Not more than I can help. To put all my work away 
you must know to be impossible, Gerald. But Til make what 
haste I can." Hamish went with him to the other room, 
where Mrs. Channing was sitting, and Gerald unbosomed 
himself to them of his great care ; the dilemma in which the 
evening's post had put him, as to the speedy arrival of his 
wife. 

" What on earth to do, I can't tell," he said, with a groan. 
" Lodgings are not found in an hour ; and that's the best thing 
I can do with them at present. If Winny were not an utter 
simpleton, she'd at least have given me a clear day's warning. 
And only look at the impossibility of my getting dinner and 
tea for them to-morrow, and all the rest of their requirements. 
I shan't know how to set about it." 

Hamish glanced at his wife and she at him, and they spoke 
almost together. 

" If you would like to bring them here first, Gerald, do so. 
You know we shall be happy to see Winn}'. It may give you 
a few hours more to find lodgings, and they need not move into 
thern until night." 

Gerald twirled his watch-chain as he stood, and did not at 
once accept the offer. He was looking very cross. 

" Thank you," he said at length, but not very graciously ; 
" then they shall come here. I suppose you could not make it 
convenient to meet them for me at Paddington, Hamish ? " 



i66 ROLAND YORKE. 

"That I certainly could not," replied Hamish. "You know 
my hours in the City, Gerald. If you are unable to go yourself, 
why don't you ask Roland ? I don't suppose " — and Hamish 
broke into a smile — " his services are so valuable to Greatorex 
and Greatorex that they'd make any objection." 

The mention of his brother was enough for Gerald. He 
called him a few contemptuous names, and went out to the 
cab, which had waited to take him back to his chambers, and 
to friends, who arrived in due course, and did not separate 
too soon. 

Hamish finished his own work, and th^n he commenced for 
Gerald. He sighed a little wearily, as he adjusted his light, 
Ellen thought him long, and came in. 

" Not ready yet, Hamish 1 " 

" My darling, I must sit up late to-night. I thought you had 
gone to bed." 

" I have been waiting. You said at tea-time you had not so 
very much to do. It is twelve o'clock, Whatever's that ? " 

" Gerald Yorke's manuscript. He wants me to read it," 

" Hamish ! As if you had not too much work of your 
own ! " 

" One must do a little kindness now and then," he said 
cheerfully. " You go on, love. I'll come by-and-by." 

It was of no use saying more, as Ellen knew by experience. 
This was not the first friend's manuscript he had toiled 
through : and she went upstairs. Hamish glanced at the 
light, saw that he had another candle at hand, coughed a 
little, as he often did now, applied himself closely to his task 
until three o'clock, and then left off. In heart and mind ever 
genial, he thought nothing of the extra toil : it was to do a 
good turn for Gerald. Surely these loving, unselfish natures 
shall find their deeds recorded on high, and meet with their 
reward ! 

He was up with the lark. Six o'clock saw him in his room 
again, that he might give a few more hours to the manuscript 
before proceeding to his daily work in the City. 

Hamish Channing's was no eye-service, either to Heaven or 
to mm. 



( i67 ) 
CHAPTER IX. 

VISITORS FOR MRS. JONES. 

Mrs. Jones sal in her parlour at the twiHght hour ; and a 
very dark twiUght, too, but hght enough for the employment 
she was so busy over — knitting. Not woollen socks this time, 
but some complicated affair of silk, more profitable than the 
stockmgs. Roland Yorke had just started on that visit, already 
recorded, to Gerald's chambers, after enjoying a sumptuous 
tea and toasted muffin in Mrs. Jones's parlour, where, for the 
sake of company, his meals were sometimes taken. Miss Rye 
was out at work ; Mr. Ollivera had an evening service ; and so 
the house was quiet, and Mrs. Jones was at leisure to pursue 
her occupation. 

Not for very long. A double knock at the street-door gave 
forth its echoes, and the servant-maid came in, after answer- 
ing it. 

"A gentleman wants to know if there's not a room to let 
here, ma'am." 

Mrs. Jones looked up as if she meant to snap the girl's nose 
off. " How should he know any room's to let ? There's no 
bill up." 

"I've asked him into Mr. Yorke's parlour," said the girl, 
aware that it v/as worse than profitless to contend with her 
mistress. " He has spectacles on, and says his name's Mr. 
Brown." 

Mrs. Jones shook out her gown and went to the visitor : a 
tall gentleman, wearing those slightly-tinted glasses that are 
called smoke-coloured. He generally took them off indoors, 
wearing them in the street as a protection from the sun, but on 
this occasion he kept them on. It was the Mr. Brown who 
belonged to the house of Greatorex and Greatorex ; Mrs. Jones 
had heard his name, but did not know him personally : and he 
had to introduce himself as well as his business. 

Mr. Roland Yorke, in his confidential communications to 
Josiah Hurst and the office generally, touching other people's 
concerns as well as his own — for gossiping, as an interlude to 
hard work, still held sway over Roland — had mentioned the 



i68 ROLAND YORKE. 

Scripture reader's departure for another district, and the conse- 
quent vacancy in Mrs. Jones's household. Mr. Brown, listening 
to all this, but saying nothing, had come to the conclusion that 
the room might suit himself; hence his visit to-night. He 
related these particulars quite candidly, and asked to see the 
room if it were not already let. He gave very Uttle trouble, 
he said, and took nothing at home but his breakfast and 
tea. 

Mrs. Jones marshalled him to the room : the back-parlour, 
as the reader may remember : and the bargain was concluded 
at once, without the slightest demur on the stranger's part. 
Mrs. Jones remembered afterwards that when she held the 
candle up for him to take in the room, he scarcely gave a glance 
at it before saying it would do, and laid the first week's rent 
down in place of references- 

" Who asked for references ? " tartly demanded Mrs. Jones, 
not a whit more courteous to her prospective lodger than she 
was to others, " Time enough to speak of references when 
you're told they're wanted. Little Jenner has often talked of 
you. Take up the money, if you please " 

" But I prefer to pay my rent in advance," said Mr, Brown. 
" It has been my custom to do so where I am." 

He spoke decisively, in a tone that admitted of no appeal, 
and Mrs. Jones took up the money and put it loosely into her 
pocket. Saying he would let her know the time of his entrance, 
which might probably be on the following evening, he wished 
her good night and departed •■ leaving an impression on his 
future landlady that his voice was in some way not altogether 
unfamiliar to her. 

" I'm not as 'cute at remembering faces as AUetha," acknow- 
ledged Mrs. Jones to herself, while she watched him down the 
street from the front door, " but I'll back my ears against hers 
for voices any day Not lately , I hardly think that ; it's more 
like a remembrance of the past. Still I don't remember his 
face. Met him, perhaps, in some railway train ; or Good- 
ness heart alive ! Is it you ? " 

This break was occasioned by the appearance of another 
gentleman, who seemed to have sprung from nowhere, until 
he halted close before her. It was the detective officer, 
Butterby : and Mrs. Jones had not seen iimi since she quitted 
her country home. 

" I thought it looked like you," cried Mr. Butterby, giving 



VISITORS P'OR MRS. JONES. 169 

his hand. "Says I to myself, as I strolled along, ' If that's not 
the exact image of my old friend, Mrs. Jones, it's uncommon 
like her.' It is you, ma'am ! And how are you ? So you are 
living in this quarter of the town ! " 

Crafty man ! Mrs. Jones would assuredly have dealt him a 
box on the ear could she have divined that he was deceiving her. 
He had been watching her house for some minutes past, know- 
ing just as well as she did that it was hers. Mrs. Jones invited 
him indoors, and he went in under protest, not wishing, he 
said, to intrude : but to go in had been his intention from the 
beginning. 

They sat gossiping about old times and new. Mr. Butterby 
took a friendly glass of beer and a biscuit ; Mrs. Jones, knit- 
ting always, took none. Without seeming to be at all anxious 
for information, he had speedily gathered in every particular 
about Roland Yorke that was to be learned. Not too charitably 
disposed to the world in general, Mrs. Jones yet spoke well of 
Roland. 

" He is no more like the proud, selfish aristocrat he used to 
be than chalk's like cheese," she said. " In his younger days 
Roland Yorke thought the world was made for him and his 
pleasure, no matter who else suffered : he doesn't think so 
now." 

" Sowed his wild oats, has he ? " remarked Mr. Butterby. 

" For the matter of wild oats, I never knew he had any in 
particular to sow," retorted Mrs. Jones. " Whether or not, he 
has none left now, that I can see." 

" Wouldn't help himself to another twenty-pound note," said 
Mr Butterby, carelessly, stretching out his hand for a second 
biscuit. 

" No, that he would not," emphatically pronounced ]\Irs. 
Jones. " And I know this — there never was an act repented 
of as he repents of that. His thoughts are only skin-deep ; 
he's not cunning enough to hide them, and those that run may 
read. If cutting off his right hand would undo that past act 
of his, I believe he'd cut it off and be glad, Mr. Butterby." 

" Shouldn't wonder," assented the ofificer. " Many folks are 
in the like case. Have you ever come across that Godfrey 
Pitman ? " 

" Not I. Have you ? " 

The officer shook his head. Godfrey Pitman had hitherto 
remamed a dead failure. 



170 ROLAND YORKE. 

" The man was disguised when he was at your house at 
Helstonleigh, Mrs. Jones, there's no doubt of that; and the 
fact has made discovery difficult, you see." 

The assumption, as reflecting on her and her house,"mortally 
offended Mrs. Jones. She treated Mr. Butterby to a taste of 
the old tongue he so well remembered, and saw him with the 
barest civility to the door on his departure. Miss Rye hap- 
pened to be coming in at the time, and Mr. Butterby regarded 
her curiously with his green eyes as he saluted her. Her face 
and lips turned white as ashes. 

"What brings him here ? " she asked under her breath, when 
Mrs. Jones came back to her parlour. 

" His pleasure, I suppose," was Mrs. Jones's answer, a great 
deal too much put out to say that he had come (as she sup- 
posed) by accident. Disguised men lodging in her house, 
indeed ! " What's the matter with you ? " 

Alletha Rye had sat down on the nearest chair, and seemed 
labouring with agitation. The white face, the signs altogether, 
attracted the notice of Mrs. Jones. 

"I have that stitch in my side again; I walked fast," was 
all she said. 

Mrs. Jones caught up her knitting. 

" Did Butterby want anything in particular ? " presently 
asked Miss Rye. 

" No, he did not. He is in London about some business or 
other, and saw me standing at the door this evening as he 
passed by. Have you got your work finished ? " 

"Yes," replied Alletha, beginning to unfasten her mantle 
and bonnet-strings. 

"I've let the back parlour," remarked Mrs. Jones; ''so if 
you've any of your pieces in the room, the sooner you fetch 
them out the better. Brown, the managing-clerk to Mr. Bede 
Greatorex, has taken it." 

" Who?" cried Alletha, springing from her seat. 

" It's a good thing there's no nerves in this house ; you'd 
startle them," snapped Mrs. Jones. "What ails you to- 
night ? " 

Alletha Rye turned away, apparently searching for some- 
thing on the sideboard. Her face was growing paler, if 
possible, than before ; her hands trembled ; the terror in her 
eyes was all too conspicuous. She was silently striving for 
composure. When it had in a degree returned, she faced 



VISITORS FOR MRS. JONES. 171 

Mrs. Jones again, who was knitting furiously, and spoke in a 
quiet tone. 

"Who did you say had taken the room, JuHa? Mr. Brown? 
Why should//^ take it?" 

"You can go and ask him why." 

" I would not let it to him," said Alletha, earnestly. " Don't ; 
pray don't." 

Down went the knitting. "Now just you explain yourself, 
Alletha Rye. What has the man done to you, that you should 
object to his coming ?" 

" Nothing." 

" Oh ! Then why should he 7iot come, pray ? His worst 
enemy can't say he's not respectable — after being for years 
confidential clerk to Greatorex and Greatorex. Do you hear ? 
— what have you to urge against his coming ? " 

Alletha Rye was at a loss for an answer. The real reason 
she dared not give; and it was difficult to invent one. 

"It may not be agreeable to Mr. Yorke," she presently 
said. 

Mrs. Jones was never nearer going into a passion : and, in 
spite of her sharp tongue, passion with her was exceedingly 
rare. She gave Alletha what she called a taste of her mind ; 
and it was rather a bitter one while it lasted. Mrs. Jones did 
not drop it easily, and it was she who again broke the silence 
that ensued. 

" Don't bring up Mr. Yorke's name under any of your false 
pretences, Alletha Rye. You have taken up some crotchet 
against the man, though I don't know how or when you can 
have seen him, just as you did against Parson Ollivera. Any 
way, I have accepted Brown, and he comes in to-morrow 
night." 

" Then I may as well move my work out at once," said 
Alletha, meekly, taking up a candle. 

She went into the back-parlour, and caught hold of an 
upright piece of furniture, and pressed her aching head upon 
it ar, if it were a relief to do so. The candle remained on the 
drawers ; the work, lying about, was ungathered : but she 
stood on, murmuring words of distress and despair. 

" It is the hand of fote. It is bringing all things and people 
together in one nucleus ; just as it has been working to do ever 
since the death of John Ollivera." 

But the events of the evening were not entirely over, and a 



172 ROLAND YORKE. 

word or two must be yet given to it. There seemed to be 
nothing but encounters and re-encounters. As Mr. Butterby 
was walking down the street on his departure, turning his eyes 
(not his head) from side to side in the quiet manner charac- 
teristic of him, observing all, but apparently seeing nothing, 
though he had no object in view just now, there came up a 
wayfarer to jostle him ; a tall, strong young man, who walked 
as if the street were made for him, and nearly walked over 
quiet Mr. Butterby. 

" Halloa ! " cried Roland, for it was nobody else. " It's 
you, is it ? What do you do up here ?" 

Roland's tone was none of the pleasantest, savouring rather 
of the haughty assumption of old days. His interview with 
Gerald, from which he was hastening, had not tended to 
appease him, and Mr. Butterby was as much his bete noire as 
he had ever been. The officer did not like the tone : he was 
a greater man than he used to be, having got up some steps in 
tlie official world. 

" Looking after you, perhaps," retorted Mr. Butterby. 
" The streets are free for me, I suppose." 

" It would not be the first time you had looked after the 
wrong man. How many innocent people have you taken into 
custody lately ? " 

" Now you just keep a civil tongue in your mouth, Mr. 
Roland Yorke. You'd not like it if I took you." 

" I should like it as well as Arthur Channing liked it when 
you took him," said bold Roland. " There's been a grudge 
lying on my mind against you ever since that transaction, 
Butterby, and I promise you I'll pay it off if I get the chance." 

" Did you make free with that cheque yesterday, Mr. Yorke 
— as you did by the other money ? " asked Mr. Butterby, 
slightly exasperated. 

" Perhaps I did and perhaps I didn't," said Roland. 
" Think so, if you like. You are no better than a calf in these 
matters, you know, Butterby. Poor meek Jenkins, who was 
too good to breathe the same atmosphere that other folks 
breathed, was clearer-sighted than you. ' It's Arthur Chan- 
ning, your worships, and I've took him prisoner to answer for 
it, says you to the magistrates. ' It never was Arthur Chan- 
ning,' says Jenkins, nearly going down on his knees to you in 
his honest truth. ' Pooh, pooh,' says you, virtuously indignant, 
' I know a thief when I see him — ~ ' " 



VISITORS FOR MRS. JONES. 17J 

" Now I vow, Mr. Roland Yorke ''' 

" Don't interrupt your betters, Butterby ; wait till I've done," 
cried Roland, overruling the quieter voice. " You took up 
Arthur Channing, and moved heaven and earth to get him 
convicted. Had King Solomon come express down from the 
stars on a frosty night, to tell you Arthur was innocent, you'd 
have pooh-poohed him as you did poor Jenkins. But it turned 
out not to be Arthur, you know, old Butterby; it was me. 
And now if you think you'd like to go in for the same mistake 
again, go in for it. You would, if you took me up for this 
second affair." 

" I can tell you what, Mr. Roland Yorke — you'd look rather 
foolish if I walked into Mr. Greatorex's office to-morrow morn- 
ing, and told him of that past mistake." 

"I don't much care whether you do or don't," said candid 
Roland. "As good let it come out as not, for somebody or 
other is always casting it in my teeth. Hurst does : my 
brother Gerald does — I've come now straight from hearing 
him do so. I thought I should have lived that down at Port 
Natal ; but it seems I didn't." 

"You'll not live it down by impudence," said Mr. Butterby. 

"Then I must live it up," vras the retort, " for impudence is 
a fault of mine. I've heard you say I had enough for the 
devil. So good night to you, Butterby. I am to be found at 
my lodgings, if you'd like to come after me there with a pair of 
handcuffs." 

Roland went striding off, and the officer stood looking after 
him. In spite of the " impudence " received, a smile crossed 
his face ; it was the same impulsive, careless, boyish Roland 
Yorke of past days, good-natured under his worst grievance. 
But whatever other impression might have been left upon Mr. 
Butterby by the encounter, one thing was very clear to him — 
that Roland was not guilty this time, and he must look elsewhere 
for the stealer of the cheque. 



174 ROLAND YORKE. 

CHAPTER X. 

WINNY. 

Five minutes past three at the Paddington Station, and all th6 
bustle and confusion of a train just in. Gerald Yorke stood 
on the platform, welcoming a pretty little fair-haired woman, 
whose unmeaning doll's face was given to dimple with smiles 
one minute, and to pout the next. Also three fair-haired 
children, the eldest three years old, the youngest just able to 
walk. Mrs. Gerald Yorke was not much better than a child 
herself. To tell the truth, she was somewhat of a doll in in- 
tellect as well as in face ; standing in awe of big, resolute, 
clever Gerald, yielding implicitly to his superior will. But 
for a strong-minded sister, who had rebelled against Winny's 
wrongs, in being condemned to an obscure country cottage, 
while he flourished in high life in London, and who managed 
the removal for her privately, she had never dared to venture 
on the step ; but this was not to be confessed to her husband. 
She felt more afraid than ever of the consequences of having 
taken it, now that she saw him face to face. 

" How many packages have you, Winny ? " 

" Nineteen." 

"Nineteen!" 

"But they are not all large, Gerald. Some of them are 
small bundles, done up in kitchen towels and pillow-cases." 

Gerald bit his lip to avoid an ugly word. To any one 
but his wife on this her first arrival in London, he would have 
exploded. 

" Have you brought no nurse, Winny ? " 

" Good gracious, no ! How could I tell I might afford to 
bring one, Gerald? You know I had only one maid for every- 
thing, down there." 

Hurrying them into a cab, Gerald went in search of the 
luggage, suppressing a groan, and glancing over his shoulder 
on all sides. Bundles done up in kitchen towels and pillow- 
cases ! If Gerald Yorke had never before offered up a prayer, 
he did then : that no chance might have brought any of his 
fashionable friends to the station that unlucky afternoon. 



WIN NY. IJ'S 

'' Drive through the most obscure streets," he whispered to 
the cabman on his return, as he mentioned Hamish Channing's 
address. "Never mind taking a round; I'll pay you extra." 
And the man gave him a friendly and confidential nod in 
answer : for which Gerald could have knocked him down. 

"And now, Winny, tell me how you came to do this mad 
thing," he said sternly, when he was seated with them in 
the cab. 

For answer, Mrs. Yorke burst into tears. It was coming, 
she thought. But Gerald had no desire for a scene there; 
and so kept quiet until a more fitting opportunity. But 
the tears continued, and Gerald angrily ordered her not to be 
a child. 

" You've never kissed one of us," sobbed Winny. " You've 
not as much as kissed baby." 

"Would you have me kiss you on the platform?" he angrily 
demanded. " A family embracing affair for the benefit of the 
public 1 I'll kiss you when we get in. You are more ridiculous 
than ever, Winny." 

The three little things, sitting opposite, were still as mice, 
looking shyly at him with their timid blue eyes. Gerald took 
one upon his knee for a moment and pressed its face to his own, 
fondly enough. Fortune was very unkind to him he thought, 
in not giving him a fine house for these children, and a thousand 
or two per annum to keep them on, 

" Are we going to your chambers, Gerald ? " 

"That is another foolish question, Winny! My chambers 
are hardly large enough for me alone. I have taken lodgings 
for you this morning ; the best I could find at a minute's notice. 
London is full of bothers and inconveniences. If you have to 
put up with some, remember that you have brought them on 
yourself" 

"Will there be any dinner for us?" asked Winny, timidly. 
" The poor little girls are hungry." 

" You are going to IMrs. Hamish Channing's until to-night. 
I dare say she'll have dinner ready for you. Afterwards you 
can call at the rooms, and settle with the landlady what you 
will want ordered in." 

The change in Mrs. Yorke's face was like magic ; a bright 
smile overspread it. Once when she was ill in lodgings at 
Helstonleigh, before her husband removed her into Gloucester- 
shire, her eldest child being then an infant, Hamish Channing's 



i76 ROLANO YORKfi. 

^vife had been wonderfully kind to her. To hear that she wjls 
going to /ler seemed a haven of refuge in this wilderness of a 
London, which she had never until now visited. 

"Oh, thank you, Gerald. I am so glad." 

" I suppose you have brought some money with you," said 
Gerald. 

" I think I have about sixteen shillings," she answered, taking 
out her purse. 

"Vv'here's the rest?" 

"What rest?" 

" The money for the furniture. You wrote me word you had 
sold it." 

• " But there were the debts, Gerald. I sold the furniture to 
pay them. How else could I have left ? — they wouldn't have 
let me come away. It was not enough to pay all ; there's six 
or seven pounds still unpaid." 

A blank look settled on Gerald's face. The one slight ray 
illuminating this checkmating step of his wife's, reconciling him 
to it in a small degree, had been the thought of the money she 
would receive for the furniture. But what he might have said 
was stopped by a shriek by Winny, who became suddenly aware 
that the cab, except for themselves, was free of encumbrance. 

" The luggage, Gerald, the luggage ! Oh, Gerald, the 
luggage!" 

" Hold your tongue, Winny," said Gerald, angrily, pulling her 
back as she was about to stop the driver. " The luggage is all 
right. It will be sent to the lodgings." 

"But we want some of the things at once," said Winny, 
piteously. " What shall we do without them ? " 

"The best you can," coolly answered Gerald. "Did you 
suppose you were going to fill Hamish Channing's hall with 
boxes and bundles ? " 

Mrs. Channing stood ready to receive them with a welcome, 
and the first thing Winny did was to burst into tears and 
sob out the grievance about the luggage in her arms. If 
Gerald Yorke had married a pretty wife, he had also married 
a silly and incapable one : and Gerald had known it for some 
years now. Only waiting to hand them over to Mrs. Chan- 
ning's care, and to give Winny the address of the lodgings, 
Gerald departed. He was engaged that afternoon to dine with 
a party at Richmond, and would not see his wife again before 
the morrow. 



WIN NY. 177 

"Don't — you — mean — to live with us?" she ventured to 
ask, on hearing him say this, her face growing white with 
dismay. 

" Of course I shall live with you," sharply answered Gerald. 
" But I have my chambers, and when engagements keep me 
out late, I shall sleep at them." 

And Gerald, lightly vaulting into a passing hansom, was 
cantered off. Winny turned to Ellen Channing for consola- 
tion, who gave her the best that the circumstances permitted. 

Hamish, beyond his first welcome, saw very little of Winny 
that evening ; he was shut up with her husband's manuscript. 
He took her home at night. The lodgings engaged by Gerald 
consisted of a sitting-room and two bedrooms, the people of 
the house attending upon them. Hamish paid the cab and 
accompanied her indoors. The first thing Airs. Gerald Yorke 
did, was to sit down on the lowest chair, and begin to cry. 
Her little girls, worn out with the day's excitement and the 
happy play in Nelly Channing's nursery, were ready to drop 
with fatigue, and put themselves quietly on the carpet. 

" Oh, Mr. Channing ! do you think he is not going to for- 
give me ! It is so cruel of him to send us into this strange 
place alone." 

*' He had an engagement, you know," answered Hamish, 
his voice taking, perhaps unconsciously, the soothing tones 
that he would have used to a child. " London engagements 
are sometimes not to be put off." 

" I wish I was back in Gloucestershire ! " she bewailed. 

"It will be all right, Mrs. Yorke," he returned gaily. " One 
always feels unhappy in a fresh place. The night Ellen first 
slept in London she cried to be back again at Helstonleigh." 

A servant, who looked untidy enough to have a world full 
of work upon her, showed Hamish out. In answer to a 
question, she said that she was the only one kept, and would 
have to wait on the new lodgers. Hamish slipped some 
money into the girl's hand and bade her do all she could for 
the lady and the little children. 

And so, leaving Gerald's wife in her new home, he went 
back to his work. 

He, Hamish Channing, with his good looks and his courtly 
presence, was treading the streets gaily on the following 
morning. Many a man, pressing on to business, spared a 
moment to turn and glance at him, wondering who the fine, 

Roland Vorke. 12 



178 ROLAND YORKE. 

handsome fellow was, with the bright and good face. It was 
a face that would be bright always, bright in dying ; but it had 
a shadow of care on it to-day. For if one living man hated, 
more than another, to inflict pain and disappointment, it was 
Hamish Channing. He was carrying back Gerald's manuscript, 
and had no good report to give of it. 

However clever Gerald might be at dashing off slashing 
articles in the review line, he would never be able to succeed 
in fiction. This first attempt proved it indisputably to Hamish 
Channing. The story was unconnected, the plot scarcely 
distinguishable, and there were other grave faults, offending 
against morality and good taste. Not one reader in fifty could 
get through the first volume. Certainl}', in plunging into 
a work of fiction, Gerald Yorke had mistaken his vocation. 
How different this crude and worthless book was from the 
work Hamish was writing, his cheeks glowed to contemplate. 
Not in triumph over Gerald ; never a suspicion of such a 
feeling could lie in his generous heart ; but at the consciousness 
of his own capability, the gift given him by God, and what the 
work would be to the public. But that he deemed it lay in his 
duty, in all kindliness, not to deceive Gerald, he would not 
have told him the truth ; no, in spite of the promise exacted 
from him to give a just, unvarnished report. 
I Gerald sat at breakfast, in a flowery dressing-gown, in the 
rooms he was pleased to call his chambers, his breakfast and 
its appointments perfect. Silver glittered on the table, its 
linen was of finest damask, the chocolate sent out its aroma. 
Gerald's taste was luxurious : he could not have lived upon 
a sovereign a week as Roland was doing. Perhaps Roland 
had never learnt to do it but for that renowned voyage of his. 

" Halloa, Hamish, old fellow ! What brings you here so 
early ? " 

" Oh, one or two matters," answered Hamish, keeping the 
manuscript out of sight at first, for he really shrank from 
having to report upon it. " I was not sure you would be up." 

" I had to be up early this morning. Tell your news, 
Hamish ; I suppose the gist of it is that Winny is in a state 
of rebeUion. Stay ! I'll send the things awaj. One has no 
appetite after a Star-and-Garter dinner and pipes to wind up 
with till three in the morning. You have breakfasted ? " 

" An hour ago." 

" It is an awfully provoking step for Winny to have taken," 



WIN NY. 179 

said Gerald, as his servant disappeared with the breakfast- 
tray. *' She has no doubt been grumbling to you and Mrs, 
Channing about her ' wrongs,' — she called them so yesterday — 
but I know mine are worse. Fancy her taking such a mad 
start ' What on earth I am to do with them in town, I can't 
guess. You haven't got her outside, I suppose ? You know, 
Hamish, I couldn't help myself ; I had to leave her." 

" Qui s'excuse s'accuse," returned Hamish, with one of his 
sunny smiles, chancing on the very common French proverb 
that Mr. Bede Greatorex had applied recently to Gerald's 
brother. 

" Oh bother," said Gerald. " Did Winny strike last night, 
and refuse to go into lodgings ? " 

" She went all right enough ; but she didn't like your leaving 
her to go there alone. My wife made use of the occasion to 
read me a lecture, saying she should not like it at all \ I'm not 
sure but she said ' not put up with it.' " 

" Your wife is a different woman from mine," growled 
Gerald ; for Hamish's gay tones, covering a kinder and deeper 
feeling, jarred somewhat on his perplexed mind. "You knew 
what Winny is before to-day. I shall go down and sec her 
by-and-by." 

"Shall you keep on these chambers?'' 

" Keep on these chambers ! " echoed Gerald. " \Miy, of 
course I must keep them on. And live at them too, in a 
general way. Though how I shall afford the expense of the 
two places, the devil only knows." 

"You have been affording it hitherto. Winny has had a 
separate home." 

"What keeps a cottage yonder, won't pay for lodgings in 
London. You must know that, Hamish." 

Hamish did not speak immediately : if he could not agree, 
he would not oppose. He did not see why Gerald should not 
take either a small house, or apartments, in a neighbourhood 
sufficiently good for his fashionable friends to resort to, 
Hamish and Gerald regarded things in so different a light ■■ 
Gerald estimated people (and fashion) by their drawl, and 
dress, and assumption : Hamish knew that all good men, though 
they were of the highest rank, were proud to respect worth 
and intellect and sincere nature in a humble home, as in a 
palace. 

"Are you getting on with my manuscript, Hamish?" 



igo ROLAND YORKE. 

" I have brought it," said Hamish, taking it from his pocket 
" I put away my own work " 

" Oh, thank you, old fellow," was the quick interruption. 

" Now don't thank me for nothing, Gerald. I was about 
to say that one can judge so much better of a book in reading 
it without breaks given to other work, that I stretched a point ; 
for my own pleasure, you know," 

Gerald drew the parcel towards him, and opened it tenderly, 
undoing the string as if it fastened some rare treasure. Hamish 
saw the feeling, and his fine blue eyes took a tinge of sadness. 
Gerald looked up. 

" I think I'll tell you how ii; is, Hamish. Upon this manu- 
script " 

What had happened ? Gerald broke off abruptly and looked 
at the door ; his mouth slightly opened, his ear in the attitude 
of one listening anxiously. Hamish, unused to the place, 
heard nothing whatever. 

" Say I'm out, Hamish, old fellow ; say I'm out," whispered 
Gerald, disappearing noiselessly within a closet ; invisible from 
being papered like the walls and opening with a knob no 
bigger than a nut. Hamish sat in a trance of astonishment, 
a half smile upon his face. 

He opened the door in answer to a knock. A respectable- 
looking man at once stepped inside, asking to see Mr. Yorke. 

Hamish with a gesture of his hand pointed to the empty 
room, indicating that Mr. Yorke was not to be seen. The 
a,pplicant looked round it curiously; and at that moment 
Gerald's servant came up with a rush, and glanced round as 
keenly as the applicant. 

"My master's gone out for the day, Mr. Brookes." 
" How many more times am I to have that answer given 
me?" demanded Mr. Brookes. "It's hardly likely he'd be 
gone out so soon as this." 

"Likely or not, he's out," said the servant, speaking with 
easy indifference. 

" Well, look here ; there's the account, delivered once more 
and for the last time," said Mr. Brookes, handing in a paper. 
" If it's not paid within four-and-twenty hours, I shall summon 
him to the county-court." 

" And he means it," emphatically whispered the servant in 
Hamish's hearing, as Mr. Brookes's descending footsteps 
echoed on the stairs. 



WINNY. i8i 

Hamish pulled back the closet-door, and released Gerald. 
He came forth like a whirlwind — if a furious passion may be 
called one, Hamish had not heara so much abuse lavished on 
any one for many a day as Gerald ga 'e his servant. The man 
had been momentarily off his usual guard, and so allowed Gerald's 
sanctum (and all but his person) to be invaded by an enemy. 

""I owe the fellow a trifle for boots," said Gerald, when he 
had sent his servant from the room, " He is an awful dun, 
and will not be put off much longer. Seven pounds ten shil- 
lings," — dashing open the bill. " And for that paltry sum he'll 
county-court me ! " 

" Pay him," said Hamish. 

" Pay him ! I should like to pay him," returned Gerald, 
gloomily. " I'd pay him to-day, and have done with him, if 
I could, and think it the best money ever laid out, I'm awfully 
hard up, Hamish, and that's a fact." 

Hamish began mentally to deliberate whether he was himself 
able to help him. Gerald stood on the hearthrug, very savage 
with the world in general. 

" I'd move heaven and earth to avoid the county-court," he 
said. " It would be sure to get about. Everything is contrary 
just now : Carrick's not to the fore; Vincent Yorke says he has 
neither cross nor coin to bless himself with, let alone me. I 
never had but one loan from the fellow in my life, and be 
hanged to him ! " 

" Your expenses are so heavy, Gerald." 

" AVho the devil is to make them lighter ? " fiercely de- 
manded Gerald. " One can't live as a hermit. I beg your 
pardon, old fellow , I'm cross, I know, but I have so much to 
worry me. Things come upon one all at once. Because I 
had not enough to do with my ready-money just now, Winny 
must come up and want any amount of it." 

"What is particularly pressing you?" 

" That," said Gerald, flicking his hand in the direction of 
the boot bilL " There's nothing else very much at the present 
moment." But the " present moment " with Gerald meant the 
actual hour that was passing. 

" About my manuscript," he resumed, his tone brightening 
a little as he sat down to the table and faced Hamish. 

Still, for an instant or two, Hamish hesitated. He drew 
t'-e sheets towards him and turned them over, as if deliberating 
what to say. 



l83 ROLAND YORKE. 

"You charged me to tell you the truth, Gerald." 

^' Of course I did," loudly answered Gerald. "The truth, 
the whole truth, and nothi .ig but the truth." 

" Well, Gerald, I should not, but for your earnest wish, and 
that it is I suppose the more real kindness to do so, as it may 
prevent you from wasting time upon another. I am afraid it 
won't do, old friend." 

" What won't do ? " asked Gerald, wdth wide-open eyes that 
showed the wonder in them. 

Gently and considerately, as he could have imparted ill news 
to the dearest friend he had on earth, Hamish Channing told 
him the story would not do ; would not, at least, be a success, 
and pointed out 7ci/iy he thought so. The book was full of 
mistakes and faults ; these for the most part he passed lightly 
over : speaking rather of the defects of the Avork as a whole. 

" Go on ; let's have it all," said Gerald, when there was a 
pause : and Hamish saw nothing of the suppressed passion, or 
of the irony that lay behind the 'vords. " You think I cannot 
succeed in fiction ? " 

'•■ Not in a long work " 

" Why, the work's a short one," interrupted Gerald. 

" Very short indeed. Some writers of fiction (and as a rule 
they are the best, Gerald) put as much in a volume and a half 
as you have written in the three volumes. I don't think you 
could write a successful work of fiction even in one volume, 
Gerald — as I count success. It must have a plot ; it must be 
consecutively worked out ; it must have " 

" It must have, in short, just the qualities that my work 
lacks,'' interposed Gerald, with a laugh : and Hamish felt 
relieved that he was receiving things so easily. 

" If I thought that any hint or help of mine would enable 
you to accomplish a successful work, I would heartily put 
myself at your service, Gerald. But I don't think so. I am 
sure you have mistaken your vocation in attempting to write a 
novel." 

" Thank you," said Gerald. " Vouf work has not been tried 
yet. That's sure to prove a success, I suppose ? " 

The glow of anticipation lighted Hamish Channing's sensitive 
face. It would have betrayed the all-powerful hope lying 
within him, apart from the involuntary smile on his lips. 

" I could hardly bring myself to make the report, Gerald. 
And should not, I think, but that I care for your interests as 



WIN NY. 183 

for those or my own brothers. You know I do, and therefore 
will not mistake me, I debated whether I should not make 
some excuse for declining an opinion, advising you to submit 
it to a publisher. Of course you can do that still." 

" Let me understand you," said Gerald. " You wish to tell 
me that no publisher would be likely to take it." 

Hamish paused slightly. " I do not say that. Publishers 
take all kinds of works. The chief objection, to my mind, is 
this, Gerald : that, if published, it could not bring you honour 
or credit ; or — I think — money." 

They shook hands ; and Hamish, who would be late at his 
office, departed, leaving Gerald alone. He went along with 
a light step, wondering whether he could afford to help Gerald 
out of the money difficulty of the day. Sixteen guineas were 
due to him for literary work ; if he was paid, he would enclose 
the receipt for the boot-bill to Gerald, saying nothing about it. 

Leaving Gerald alone. Alone with his bitter anger; with 
an evil look on his face, and revenge at his heart. 

There was only one thing could have exceeded Gerald 
Yorke's astonishment at the opinion pronounced upon his 
w'ork, and that was the utter incredulity with which he received 
it. He had looked upon his book as a rara avis, a black swan : 
just as we all look on our productions, whether they are bad 
or good. The bad ones perhaps are thought most of Of 
course, therefore, Gerald Yorke could only regard the judgment 
as deliberately false, spoken in envy; tendered to keep him 
back from fame. He made the great mistake that many 
another has made before him, when receiving honest advice in 
a similar case, and many will make again. And the book 
gained rather than lost in his opinion. 

" Curse him for his insolence ! for a false, self-sufficient 
puppy ! " foamed Gerald, rapping out unorthodox words in his 
passion. " 'Ware to yourself, Mr. Hamish Channing ! You 
shall find, sooner or later, what it is to make an enemy of me." 

But Gerald received a little balm ere the day was over, for 
Mr. Brookes's receipted bill came to him by post in a blank 
envelope. And he w^ondered who on earth had been civil 
enough to pay the money for him. 



ROLAND YORKE. 



CHAPTER XL 

AT FAULT. 



It was easier for Mr. Bede Greatorex to say to the police, 
" Drop the investigation," than it was for them to obey him. 
Had he been the only one to whom they were responsible, 
the thing would have lain in a nut-shell : but their employer 
was his father. And Mr. Greatorex was pushing discovery to 
an issue as he had never yet pushed anything. He looked up 
details himself; he went backwards and forwards to Scotland 
Yard ; he was altogether troublesome. 

As the days went on, and Mr. Butterby brought forth no 
result, only presenting himself once in a way to say there was 
none to bring, Mr. Greatorex grew angry. Surely such a thing 
was never heard of, as for a cheque to be stolen out of one of 
their desks at midday, carried to the Bank and cashed, and for 
the police to say they could not trace the offender ! Mr. 
Greatorex declared that the police ought to be ashamed to 
confess it; in his opinion, they must be getting incapable of 
their duties. 

One thing had struck Mr. Greatorex in the matter — that his 
son Bede did not seem eager for the investigation : if he did 
not retard it, he certainly did not help it on. Perhaps the 
fittest word to express Bede's state of mind regarding it, as it 
appeared to Mr. Greatorex, was indifference. Why was this ? 
Bede ought to be as anxious about it as himself. Nay, more 
so : it was from his possession and his desk that the cheque 
had been taken. Mr. Greatorex supposed that the carelessness 
in regard to business affairs, which appeared latterly to have 
been creeping upon his son, must be extending itself even to 
stolen money. Was he more seriously ill than he allowed them 
to know? The fear that it might be so crossed the mind of 
Mr. Greatorex. 

The solicitor sat one morning in his private room, Jonas 
Butterby opposite to him. The detective was there in answer 
to a peremptory summons sent by Mr. Greatorex to Scotland 
Yard the previous day. Whether Mr. Butterby was responsible 
to himself alone for the progress or non-progress of the investi- 



AT FAULT, 185 

gation ; or, if not, whether he had imparted a hint at liead- 
quarters of Bede Greatorex's private communication to him, 
was locked up within his own breast. One thing appeared 
clear — that he was at liberty to do as he pleased. 

" It is not the loss of the money ; it is not that the sum of 
forty-four pounds is of so much moment to me that I must 
needs trace it out, and if possible regain it," Mr. Greatorex 
urged, his fine, fresh, honest face bent on the detective, stern- 
ness in its every line. " It is the unpleasantness of knowing 
that we have a thief about us : it is the feeling of insecurity ; 
the fear that the loss will not stop here. Every night of my 
life, when the offices close, I seem to prepare myself for the 
discovery that some other loss has taken place during the 
day." 

" Not at all an unlikely thing to happen," acknowledged Mr. 
Butterby, who, under existing circumstances, probably felt him- 
self less free than he usually was, and therefore spoke with 
hesitation. 

" That the cheque must have been taken by one of the clerks 
attached to my son's room, I think cannot be doubted. The 
difficulty is " 

"Mr. Bede thinks so himself," interrupted Butterby. " He 
charged me specially to look after them ; after one of 'em in 
particular." 

"Which was it?" 

" Hurst." 

" Hurst ! " repeated Mr. Greatorex, in surprise. 

" But Mr. Bede is mistaken, sir. It was no more Hurst 
than it was me." 

Instincts are subtle. And one came unbidden into the mind 
of the detective as he spoke — that he had made a mistake in 
repeating this to Mr. Greatorex. The truth was — holding his 
private instructions, and conscious that they must be kept 
private — he found these interviews with the head of the firm 
slightly embarrassing, 

" Why should he suspect Hurst if he " 

The door opened, and the person in question appeared at it 
— Bede Greatorex. Catching a glimpse of the detective's head, 
he was going out of it a great deal quicker than he had entered ; 
but his father stopped him. 

" Bede ! Come in. Come in and shut the door. Here's a 
fine thing I have just heard — that you suspect one particular 



166 ROLAND YORKE. 

person of having taken the cheque. Over and over again, you 
have told me that no one in particular was to be suspected." 

A lightning glance from Bede Greatorex's fine dark Spanish 
eyes flashed out on the detective. It said as plainly as glance 
could speak : " How dare you presume to betray my con- 
fidence?" 

That gentleman sat unmoved, and nodded a good morning 
with his usual equanimity. 

" Mr. Greatorex — doing me the honour to call upon me to 
report progress — observed that he fully thought it was one of 
the clerks in your room we must look to, sir," spoke Butterby, 
in a slow calm tone. " I told him your opinion was the same ; 
and you had charged me to look well after them, especially Mr. 
Hurst. That was all." 

Bede Greatorex bit his lip in anger. But the communication 
might have been worse. 

" AVhat IS there against Hurst?" impatiently asked Mr. 
Greatorex. 

"Nothing at all," said Bede, quietly. "If I said to Mr. 
Butterby that one of my clerks might have taken the cheque, 
it was only because access to my room was easier to them than 
to anybody else I can think of. And of the four, Hurst spends 
most money." 

" Hurst has most money to spend," observed Mr. Greatorex. 

"Of course he has. I have not the least doubt that Hurst 
is as innocent as I am." 

This was very different from suspecting Hurst, from desiring 
that he should be specially looked after, and perhaps Mr. 
Greatorex felt the two accounts the least in the world contra- 
dicted each other. The keen observer sitting by, apparently 
sharpening the broken point of his lead-pencil, noticed that the 
eyes of Bede Greatorex never once met openly the face of his 
father. 

"If it was my case," thought the officer, "I should tell him 
the truth out and out. No good beating about the bush this 
way, saying he suspects one and suspects another, when he 
does not suspect 'em : far better that old Greatorex should 
hear the whole and see for himself that it can'^ be gone into. 
He don't care to worry the old gentleman : that's what it is." 

That is just what it was. But Mr. Butterby was not right 
in all his premises. 

" I am quite persuaded that every clerk on my side the 



AT FAULT. 187 

house is as innocent as are those on yours,'sir," spoke Bede 
Greatorex, a shght tremor in his voice; a tremor which did 
not escape the officer's notice, or that it was caused by 
anxious, painful eagerness : and that astute man knew in a 
moment that old Greatorex must not have his suspicions 
turned on Bede's employes. " I believe it was Butterby who 
first mentioned them. Upon that, I ran them over in my 
mind, and remembered that Hurst was the only one who spent 
much money — he lives in fashionable lodgings, as a gentleman. 
Was it not so, Mr. Butterby?" ' 

The detective was professionally prepared for most acci- 
dents. Therefore, when Bede Greatorex turned upon him 
with startling rapidity, a second flash darting forth from his 
dark eyes, he never moved a muscle. 

" You are right, sir." 

"Bede," said Mr. Greatorex, in a calm tone full of meaning, 
" if the same facility for obtaining access to your room attached 
to the clerks on my side the house, I should not say to you so 
positively that they were not guilty. You seem to resent the 
very thought that suspicion can attach to them." 

" Not at all, father. Perhaps I felt vexed that Hurst's name 
should have been mentioned to you without sufficient grounds." 

" Understand me, Mr. Butterby," spoke the elderly gentle- 
man, sharply. " I expect to have this matter better attended 
to than it has been. And I repeat to you that I think the 
clerks in my son's room should be — I do not say suspected, 
but certainly thought of. It is monstrous that a theft like this 
should have been openly committed in a professional man's 
house, and you officers should avow yourselves at fault in the 
matter. We may be losing some of our clients' deeds next." 

The detective glanced at Mr. Bede Greatorex, and was 
answered, as he thought, by the faintest sign in return. It 
was not the first time he had been concerned in cases where 
sons wished things kept from the knowledge of their fathers. 

"We don't give it up, sir. Allow us more time, and per- 
haps we may satisfy you in the end." 

" I shall expect you to do so," returned Mr. Greatorex, with 
sufficient emphasis. And the officer rose to quit his presence. 

" Go round by the other door to my room and wait for 
me." 

Surely these words were breathed into Mr. Butterby's ear ? 
Faint though the whisper was, he could not have fancied it. 



188 ROLAND YORKE. 

Bede Greatorex was crossing his path at the moment, as if he 
wished to look from the window. 

Fancy or not, the officer acted upon it? Going round to the 
professional entrance, and so on up the passage to the private 
room. When Bede Greatorex returned to it, he saw him seated 
against the wall, underneath a map of London. 

'' You did wrong to mention Mr. Hurst to my father," Bede 
began imperatively, as he slipped the bolt of the middle door. 

" That's as it may be," was the rejoinder, cool as usual. 
" Without some outlet of suspicion given to your father, it will 
be just this, Mr. Bede Greatorex — he'll make one for himself. 
Leastways, that's my opinion." 

" Be it so. I do not want it to take the direction of my 
clerks." 

" He lays the blame on us : says we are lax, or else in- 
capable ; and it is only natural he should think so. Anyway 
there's no harm done about Mr. Hurst : you made it right with 
him there. Do you suspect Hurst still, sir?" 

" Yes. At least more than I do any one of the others." 

Mr. Butterby put his hands on his knees and bent a little 
forward. " If you wish me to be of any service to you in this, 
sir, you must not keep me quite so much in the dark. What 
I want to get at, Mr. Bede Greatorex, is the true reason for 
your pitching upon Hurst yourself." 

" I cannot give it to you," said Bede, promptly. " What I 
told you at our first interview, I repeat now — the suspicion 
against him is a very faint one. Still it is sufficient to raise 
a doubt ; and I have no reason to doubt the other three. 
Jenner is open and honest as the day ; Brown valuable and 
trustworthy , and Mr. Yorke must of course be exempt " 

" Oh, of course, lie must," dryly acquiesced^ the detective, 
with a cough. He knew he was sure of Roland in this case, 
but he thought Bede Greatorex might not have spoken so 
confidently had he been cognizant of a certain matter con- 
nected with the past. 

" I would not much mind answering for Jenner myself," 
remarked Mr. Butterby. " Brown seems all right, too." 

" Brown's honesty has been sufficiently proved. Very large 
sums have habitually passed through his hands, and he has 
never wronged us by a shilling. Had he wished to help 
himself, he would have done it before now : he has had the 
opportunity over and over again." 



AT FAULT. J 89 

" Then that brings us back to Hurst again. Where is your 
objection, sir, to the doubt being mentioned to your father ?" 

A startled look crossed Bede's face : a look of fear : and he 
spoke hastily. 

" Have you forgotten what I said ? That the fact of Mr. 
Hurst's knowing he was suspected (assuming him to be guilty) 
would be attended with danger. Awful danger, too. If it 
were possible to disclose all to my father, he would forfeit a 
great deal that he holds dear in life, rather than incur it." 

"Well, it seems to me that I can be of litde use in this 
matter," said Butterby, turning somewhat crusty. " I have 
had dangerous secrets confided to me in my lifetime, sir, and 
the parties they were told about are none the wiser or the 
worse for it yet." 

" And I wish I could confide this to you," said Bede, 
steadily and candidly. " 1 should be glad enough to get it 
out of my keeping, for I don't know what to do with it. If no 
one but myself were concerned ; if I could disclose it to you 
without the risk of injuring others ; you should hear it this 
very next moment. For their sakes, Mr. Butterby, my lips 
are sealed. I dare not speak." 

"Does he mean his wife, or doesn't he?" thought Butterby. 
And the question was not to be solved. " I'll look after Hurst 
a bit," he said aloud. "Truth to tell, I considered him the 
safest of all, in spite of your opinion, Mr. Bede Greatorex, 
and have let him alone. He shall have a little of my quiet 
attention now. And so shall one of the others," the detective 
mentally added. 

" Unsuspected by Hurst himself," enjoined Bede, a shade 
of anxiety in his voice. 

Could Mr. Butterby have been suspected of so far forgetting 
professional dignity as to indulge in winks, it might have 
seemed that he answered with one, as he rose from his chair. 

" I'll just take a look in upon them now," he remarked. 
"And let me advise you, sir, to get your father into a more 
reasonable frame of mind, if possible. If he calls in fresh aid, 
as he threatens, there might be the dickens to pay." 

Bede Greatorex crossed the room hastily, as though he 
meant to guard the middle door, and spoke in low tones. 

" I do not care that they should know you have been with 
me. Not for the world would I have it come to their knowledge 
that I doubt any of them." 



jgo ROLAND YORKE. 

" Now, do you suppose that I am a gosling ? " demanded 
Butterby. " You have done me the honour to confide this 
private business to my hands, Mr. Bede Greatorex, and you 
may safely leave it in 'em. After being at the work so many 
years, there's not much left for me to learn." 

He departed by the passage, treading lightly, and halted 
when he came to the clerk's door. He was deep in thought. 
This matter which, as he phrased it, Mr. Bede Greatorex had 
done him the honour to put in his hands, was no such great 
matter after all; a mere trifle in professional quarters : but few 
things had so puzzled the detective. Not in his way to dis- 
covery : that, as it seemed to him, would be very easy, could 
he pursue it openly. Bede Greatorex puzzled him ; his 
ambiguous words puzzled him ; the thing itself puzzled him. 
In most cases Mr. Butterby could at least see where he was ; 
in this he stood in a dense fog, not knowing where he was 
going, or what he was in search of. 

Giving the swing-door a dash backwards, as though he had 
just arrived, he entered the room. Mr. Brown was at his 
desk, Roland Yorke at his ; but the other two were absent. So 
if the visit had been intended as a special one to Josiah Hurst, 
it was a decided failure. 

When was the great Butterby at fault? He had just looked 
in upon them " in passing," he said, to give the good-morrow, 
and inquire how they relished the present state of the ther- 
mometer, which he pronounced melting. How did Mr. Yorke 
like it ? 

Mr. Yorke, under the circumstances of not knowing whether 
he stood on his head or his heels, had not thought about the 
thermometer. Since the receipt of a letter that morning, con- 
taining the news that one, whom he cared for more than a 
brother, might probably be coming to London shortly on a 
visit, Roland had been three-parts mad with joy. He was 
even genial to his hcte noire, the intruder. 

"Is it you, Butterby? How are you getting on, Butterby ? 
Take a stool if you like, Butterby." 

" Can't stop," said Butterby. " Just meant to give a nod 
round and go out again. Not come in on business to-day. 
You look spruce, Mr. Yorke." 

" I've got on my Sunday suit," answered Roland — who in 
point of fact was particularly well got-up, and had a rosebud 
in his button-hole. " Carrick's tailor has not a bad cut. You 



AT FAULT. I9t 

have heard of red-letter days, old Butterby : this is one for me. 
One should not put on one's every-day coat on such occasions : 
they don't come too often." 

" Had a fortune bequeathed ? " inquired Mr. Butterby. 

" Better than that," said enthusiastic Roland, who in these 
moments, when his heart and affections were touched, could 
only be more impulsive than ever. "Somebody's coming to 
London; somebody that _>'(W know, Butterby." 

" Mr. Galloway, perhaps." 

" No ; you are wrong this time," returned Roland, not in 
the least taken aback : though perhaps the detective, judged 
by his significant tone, meant that he should be. " You'd not 
see me dressed up for him. There are two men in Helston- 
leigh I'd put on shirt-sleeves to welcome, rather than a good 
coat : the one is old Galloway, the other William Yorke. 
Guess again." 

Instead of doing anything of the sort, by which perhaps 
his professional reserve might have been compromised, INIr. 
Butterby turned his attention on the manager. Pursuing his 
work steadily, he had taken no notice of Mr. Butterby, beyond 
a civil salute at first. 

" You've not heard any more of this mysterious loss, I 
suppose ? " 

" Nothing more, sir," was Mr. Brown's answer, looking full 
at the speaker, perhaps to show that he did not shrink from 
intercourse with a detective. " It seems strange, thougli, 
that we should not do so." 

" Thieves are clever when they are professional ; and I've 
got to think it was nothing less did the job for Mr. Greatorcx," 
said Butterby, in quite a fatherly and confidential tone. 
" There has been a regular band of 'em at work lately in 
London ; and in spite of opinions when I was here last, I say 
they might have gone in through the passage straight and bold, 
and have done the job easy, and you unsuspicious young men, 
shut up in this first room, never have heard a sound of what 
was going on." 

" I think that is how it must have been ; failing the other 
idea — that Mr. Bede Greatorex took the cheque out and 
dropped it," said the manager, with quiet decision. 

" Of course. And unless I'm mistaken, Mr. Bede thinks 
the same. I should like to have three minutes' chat with you 
some evening, Mr. Brown, all by our two selves. You are 



102 ROLAND YORKE. 

naturally anxious for discovery ; so am I : there's no knowing 
but something or other may come out between us." 

Perhaps to any eye except the watchful one of a police- 
officer, the slight hesitation before replying might have passed 
unnoticed. Mr. Brown had no particular wish to be ques- 
tioned ; it was no affair of his^ and he thought the detective 
and Mr. Bede Greatorex quite enough to manage the matter 
without him. But when his answer came, it was spoken 
readily. 

" Whenever you please. I am generally at home by eight 
o'clock." 

He gave his new address — Mrs. Jones's. At which the 
crafty detective expressed surprise, though knowing the very 
day and hour when Mr. Brown had moved in. 

" There ! Do you live there ? The Jones's and I used to 
be old acquaintances : knew 'em well when they were at 
Helstonleigh. Knew Dick must be making a mess of it long 
before the smash came. You'll see me then, Mr. Brown, one 
of these first evenings." 

"Don't be in a hurry, Butterby," spoke Roland, who had 
been amusing himself by trying how far he could tilt his stool 
backwards without capsizing, while he listened. " It's not old 
Galloway, it's Arthur Channing." 

" Is there anything so remarkable in Arthur Channing's 
coming to London ? " questioned Butterby. 

" To me there is. I tell you it is a red-letter day in my life, 
and I have not had many since I sailed from Port Natal. If I 
were not in this confounded old oftice, with one master in the 
next room and another there " flinging a paper ball at the 
manager — " I should sing and dance and leap my joy off. 
Three copies have I begun to take of a musty old will, and 
spoilt 'em all. Brown says I'm out of my senses ; ask him." 

" You never were famous for not spoiling copies — or for any 
industry in particular, you know, Mr. Yorke." 

The rejoinder rather nettled Roland. " I'd rather be 
famous for nothing than for what you are famed in Helston- 
leigh, Butterby — taking up the wTong man. It was not your 
fault that Arthur Channing didn't get transported." 

" Nor yours," quietly retorted Mr. Butterby. 

"There ! Go on. Bring it all out. If you've come to do it, 
do it, Butterby. I told you to, the other night. And when 
Arthur Channing is in London, you put up a prayer every 



J 



AT FAULT. 193 

morning not lo llTeet him at Charing Cross. The sight 
couldn't be pleasant to your mind, and passers-by might see 
your brow redden : which for a bold, fear-nothing police- 
detective " 

" Is Mr. Bede Greatorex in? " 

The interruption came from the Reverend Henry William 
Ollivera. As he entered, the first man his eyes fell on was 
Butterby. It was a mutual recognition : and they had not 
met since that evening in Butterby's rooms on the occasion of 
the clergyman's visit to Helstonleigh. 

Before a minute had well elapsed, as it seenied to the two 
sijectators, they were deep in that calamity of the past, recall- 
ing some of its details, lamenting the want of success that had 
attended the endeavour to trace it out. It did not greatly 
interest Roland ; his mind also was filled to the brim, but with 
more agreeable matter. Apparently it did not interest Brown 
the manager, for he kept his head bent on his work. In the 
midst of it Bede Greatorex came in. 

" I tell you, Mr. Officer, my faith has never v>avered, or 
my opinion changed," the clergyman was saying with emotion, 
scarcely interrupting himself to nod a salutation to Bede. 
" My brother did not commit suicide. He was barbarously 
murdered ; as every instinct warned me at the time, and warns 
me still. The waiting seems long ; the time rolls by, day 
after day, year after year : weariness has to be subdued, 
patience cherished ; but, that the hour of elucidation will 
come, is as sure as that you and I stand here, facing each 
other." 

" Mr. Greatorex told me that the Reverend Ollivera stood 
to his opinion as strongly as ever he did," was the answering 
remark of the officer ; and it might be that there was a shade 
of compassion in his tone — compassion for the mistaken folly 
of the man before him. 

" It has occurred to me at times, that if I were a member 
of the detective force, endowed with their acuteness for dis- 
covering crime, I should have brought the matter to light long 
ago. Do not think I reflect on your individual skill or care, 
sir; I speak generally." 

" Ah ! " said Mr. Butterby, complacently, " we all are apt to 
picture to ourselves how much we'd do in other folks" 
shoes." 

'It is strange that you have never been able to discover 

Roland Vorke. 13 



194 ROLAND YORKE. 

tl-aces of the man whose name was afterwards mixed up in the 
affair — Godfrey Pitman." 

" There you are right, sir," readily avowed the officer. " I 
should uncommonly like to come across that Godfrey Pitman 
on my own score : setting aside anything he might have had 
to do with the late Mr. Ollivera." 

The clergyman quickly took up the words. " Uo you think 
he had anything to do with his death ? " 

" I don't go as far as that. It might have been so. Any 
way, as circumstances stand at present, he seems the most 
likely, of all those who were known to have been in the house 
that evening." 

Happening to raise his eyes, Mr. Brown caught those of 
Mr. Bede Greatorex. They were fixed on the speaker with an 
eager, earnest light. To many a man it might have told the 
talt: ifiai he, Bede Greatorex, had also doubts of Pitman. But 
then, Bede Greatorex had expressed his belief in the suicide : 
expressed it still. One thing was certain, had Bede chosen to 
confess it — that Godfrey Pitman was in his mind far often er 
than the world knew. 

" How is it that you have never found him ? " continued 
Mr. Ollivera, to Butterby. 

" / don't know. We are not usually at fault for a tithe of 
the time. But the man, you see, was under false colours ; his 
face and his name were alike changed." 

"You think so?" 

" Think so !" repeated Mr. Butterby with a second dose of 
compassion for the parson's intellect. " That mass of hair on 
his face was hardly likely to be real. As to the name, Pitman, 
it was about as much his as it was mine. However, we have 
7Wt found him, and there's no more to be m.ade of it than that. 
Mr. Bede Greatorex asked me about the man the other day, 
whether I didn't think he might at once have left the country. 
It happens to be what I've thought all along." 

"I do not see what he could have against my brother, that 
he should injure him," spoke the clergyman, gazing on vacancy, 
the dreamy look, so often seen in them, taking possession of 
his eyes. "So far as can be known, they were strangers to 
each other." 

" Now, sir, don't you run your head again a stone wall. 
Nobody says he did injure him ; only that it's within the range 
of possibility that he might have done it. A.s to being strangers 



i 



AT FAULT. 195 

to eacli other, he might have turned out to be one of Counsellor 
Ollivera's dearest friends, once his disguises were taken off." 

Mr. Ollivera drew in, under the reproof, and there was a 
short pause of silence. He broke it to ask about the letter so 
often mentioned. 

" Have you taken care of the paper ? " 
'' "I have," said Mr. Butterby, rather emphatically. "And I 
mean to do it, being permitted. This house wrote for it to 
be sent up, but I gave Mr. Greatorex my reasons for wishing 
to keep it, and he charged me not to let it go out of my posses- 
sion. If ever the time comes for that document to be of use, 
Reverend Sir, it will be forthcoming." 

As the officer went out, for there was nothing more to keep 
him, Mn Ollivera began speaking to Bede in low tones. This 
conversation lasted only a minute or two, and Bede retired to 
the other room. 

" Arthur Channing is coming to London, Mr. Ollivera." 

That the interruption came from no one but Roland, need 
not be stated. He was the only one in the ofhce who pre- 
sumed to interrupt business with personal matters. The 
clergyman, who was going out, turned his head. 

" You will have the opportunity of making his better 
acquaintance, Mr. Ollivera. He is the noblest and grandest 
man the world ever saw. I don't mean in looks — though he 
might win a prize on that score — but for goodness, Hamish 
is at the top of the tree, but Arthur caps him." 

Arthur Channing and his qualities bore no interest for Mr. 
Ollivera just then ; he had no time to attend to them. With 
a pleasant word in answer, he departed. Almost close upon 
that, Sir Richard Yorke came in, and went into the private 
room. 

" Perhaps something has turned up about the cheque, and 
he's come to tell it," cried idle Roland. " I say, Mr. Brown, 
did you ever hear how they all keep up the ball about that 
Godfrey Pitman ? Mrs. J. was describing him to me the other 
night. She and Miss Alletha came to an issue about his 
personal charms : the one saying his eyes were blue, the other 
brown. Remembering the fable of the chameleon, I decided 
they must have been green. I wouldn't like to joke about 
him, though " — dropping his lighter tone — " if he really had a 
hand in John Ollivera's death. What do you think -oout it?" 

"What I think is this, Mr. Yorke. As the person in 



J0 ROLAND YORKE. 

question has nothing to do with my work or yours, I am 
content to let him alone. I should be exceedingly obliged to 
you to get that copy done for me." 

" I'll get it done," said ready Roland, " There are such 
interruptions in this office, you see." 

He was working away, when Sir Richard Yorke came forth 
again, talking with Bede Greatorex. Roland slipped off his 
stool, and brought his tall self in his uncle's path. 

" How are you, Sir Richard ? " 

Sir Richard's little eyes went blinking out, and he con- 
descended to recognize Roland. 

" Oh, ah, to be sure. You are one of the clerks here ! Hope 
you keep out of debt, young man." 

" I try to," said Roland. " I get a pound a week, and live 
upon it. It is not much to provide for everything. One 
has to enjoy champagne and iced turtle through the shop 
windows." 

" Ah," said Sir Richard slowly, rubbing his hands together as 
if he were washing them of undesirable connections, " this comes 
of being a rover. You should do as Gerald does : work to keep 
up a position. I read an able article in the Snarler last night, 
which was pointed out to me as Gerald Yorke's. He works to 
some purpose, he does." 

*' If Gerald works, he spends," was on the tip of Roland's 
tongue. But he kept it in : it was rare indeed that his good- 
nature failed him. " How is Vincent ? " he asked. 

Vincent was very well. Sir Richard vouchsafed in repl}', and 
went out, rubbing his hands siilL 

So, with one interlude or another, Roland's morning came to 
an end. When released, he went flying in search of Annabel 
Channing, to impart the great news contained in her brother's 
letter. 

She was not in the schoolroom. She was not in the dining- 
room. She was not anywhere that Roland could see. He 
turned to descend the stairs again more slowly than he had 
gone up, when Jane Greatorex came running from the landing 
above. 

"Jane ! Jane ! I told you you were not to go down." 

The voice, calling after the child, would have resembled 
Annabel's, but for a choking sound in it. He looked up and 
•ijw her face inflamed with tears, heard sobs of trouble. It took 
Roland more completely aback than any sight he had witnessed 



MR. BROWN AT HOME. 197 

at Port Natal. The face disappeared swiftly, and Miss Jane 
jumped into his arms in triumph. 

" Janey, what is it ? " he asked in a whisper, as if he had been 
suddenly deprived of the power to move. "What is 'the matter 
with Miss Channin^?" 

"It's through Aunt Bede. She puts herself into such dread- 
ful passions. I thought she w^uld have struck her this morning. 
She told her she was not worth her salt." 

Roland's face grew white with indignation. 

" Your Aunt Bede snid so ! " 

"Oh, it's nothing new," said the child, carelessly, "Aunt 
Bede goes on at her nearly as much every day." 



CHAPTER XII. 

MR. BROWN AT HOME. 

That the managing clerk of Mr. Bede Greatofcx was anything 
but a steady man, his worst enemy could not have suspected. Mr. 
Brown's conduct was irreproachable, his industry indefatigable. 
At the office to the very minute of opening, quitting it always 
last at night, occupying all His spare time at home in writing, 
except that which had to be devoted to sleep ; of habits so 
moderate, that even Roland Yorke, with all his experiences of 
Port Natal deprivations, would have marvelled at them, it might 
have been surmised that Mr. Brown had begun to acquire a 
modest fortune. The writing he did at home was paid for. It 
was so thoroughly to be depended on, that Greatorex and 
Greatorex were glad to give it to him, and kept it a tacit secret 
froTi the other clerks. For Mr. Brown did not care that it 
should be known in the office, lest he should lose his standing 
there. To carry home copying for remuneration, might have 
been deemed iufaa dig. on the part of the manager. 

For his breakfast he took a hard-boiled egg, or a sausage, or 
a little bacon, as might be ; tea, and bread. At dinner, the 
middle of the day, his food scarcely differed from the above, a 
glass of beer being substituted for the tea. He invariably 
called it luncheon, saying he dined out later ; and hurried over 
It to get back to his writing. In thq evening he took tea again, 



198 ROLAND YORKE. 

butter, bread, and one or other of the hixuries of his moming 
meal, accompanied with radishes or any light garden produce 
which might happen to be in season. Shrewd Mrs. Jones, after 
a few days' experience of her lodger's habits, came to the con- 
clusion that the daily dinner out had place only in fable. On 
Sundays he dined at home. Given to rapid conclusions, Mrs. 
Jones set it all down, not to parsimony, but to economy, for 
which she decided there must be some good cause; and 
honoured his self-denial. 

Detective Butterby, having scraped acquaintance (of course 
by chance) with the landlord where Mr. Brown had previously 
lived, gathered sundry details, over a pipe, into his capacious 
ears. The house, situated in an obscure quarter, was let out 
in rooms — chambers it might be said, of a very humble grade, 
with a wide, dark staircase of stone, common to all the mmates. 
One lodger did not interfere with another; and all the land- 
lord and his wife had to do was to take the weekly money- 
Mr. Brown had been with them between three and four years, 
the landlord said ; was most steady and respectable. Gentle- 
man Brown they always called him. They did his room, 
though most of the others did their own. Never went to 
theatres, or smoking-places ; never, in short, spent a sixpence 
in waste ; saved up what he could for his mother and sick 
sister in the country, who were dependent on him. Had not 
the least idea why he left ; might have knocked him (the land- 
lord) down with a feather when Gentleman Brown tapped at 
his door late one evening, saying business was calling him away 
on the morrow or next day, and put down a full week's rent in 
lieu of notice ; was the best and most regular man that ever 
lodged in a decent house ; should be right down glad to have 
him back again. 

An excellent character, certainly; as Mr. Butterby could 
only mentally acknowledge ; steady, self-denying, working 
always to support a mother and sick sister ! He had no reason 
to dispute it ; having come on a fishing expedition rather than 
with a special object in view. 

Mr. Brown sat working to-night in his room at Mrs. Jones's, 
the evenmg of the day mentioned in the last chapter. A 
'-haded lamp was at his elbow ; his spectacles, which he always 
took off when writing, lay on the table beside him. The room 
was of fair size for its situation ; a screen concealing the small 
bed in the corner. A high bureau stood opposite the fire- 



I 



MR. BROWN AT HOME. iqg 

place, near it a dwarf mahogany cupboard, which ser\ed as a 
side-table. Mr. Brown had drawn the larger table to the 
window, that he might catch the fading light of the summer 
evening. He sat with the right-hand cufF of his worn coat 
turned up. Out of doors he appeared as a gentleman ; indoors 
he was economically careful in dress, as in other things. 

A light tap at the door; followed by the entrance of Miss 
Rye. He rose at once, and turned down the cuff. She 
brought in a letter that the postman had just left. Never, 
except when forced by the rare absence of the maid, did Miss 
Rye appear in his room. The servant was out this evening ; 
and Mrs. Jones had handed her the letter with a decision that 
might not be disregarded. "Take it in, AUetha." 

She put the letter on the table, and was turning away with- 
out a word. Mr. Brown went to the door, and held it closed 
while he spoke, that the sound of voices might not be heard 
outside. 

"What is your reason for shunning me, Miss Rye? Is it 
well ? Is it kind of you to do so ? " 

She suddenly lifted her hand to her bosom, and the little 
colour that was in her face faded out of it. 

" It is well. As to kindness — you know all that is over." 

"I do not know it. I neither admit it, nor its necessity. 
Civility at least might remain. What has been my motive, do 
you suppose, in coming here, but to live under the same roof 
that shelters you? Not to renew the p.»st, as it once existed 
between us ; I do not ask or wish it ; bi t to see you now and 
then, to exchange a calm word with you once in a wa}-." 

" I cannot stay. Please to let me pass, sir ! " 

"The old place, where I lodged so long, suited me, for it 
was quiet and private , and I need privacy, as you know," he 
continued, paying no attention to her request. " It was also 
reasonable enough to satisfy even me. Here I pay nearly 
double ; here I am more likely to be seen by those who might 
do rne harm. But I have braved it all for you. Perhaps the 
former friendship — I do not wish to offend even by a name, 
you see. Miss Rye — was a terrible mistake for you, but I at 
least have been true to it." 

" The best and kindest thing you can do for me, sir, is to go 
back to your late lodgings." 

"I shall remain in these. You told me, in the only inter- 
view I ha,ve held with you siiice I came here, that I was a man 



200 ROLAND YORKE. 

of crime. I admit it. But criminals have their affections as 
well as other people. You are cruel to me, AUetha Rye." 

" It is you who are cruel," she returned, losing in emotion 
the reserve, as between waitress and lodger, she had been 
studying to maintain, ' ' You must know the pain your presence 
brings me. Mrs. Jones has invited you to dine with her next 
Sunday, I hear ; let me implore of you not to come in," 

" And promised me boiled beef," he rejoined in plain, curt 
tones, as if her manner and words were hardening him. " The 
offer is too good a one to be refused." 

" Then I shall absent myself from table." 

" Don't drive me quite wild, AUetha Rye, You have me in 
your power : the only one in London who has — so far as I 
hope and believe, I would almost as soon you went and gave 
me in charge." 

" Who is cruel now?" she breathed, "You know that you 
can trust me ; you know that I would rather forfeit my own 
life than put yours in jeopardy : but I take shame to myself 
in saying it. It is just this," she added, struggling with her 
agitation, "you are safe with me, but you are not welcome." 

" I told you somewhat of my secrets in our last interview : I 
would have told you more, but you would not listen, I would 
have told you why I am living as I do, trying to atone for the 
miserable sins of the past — — " 

" Atone ! " 

" Yes, it is well to take me up. One of them, at least, never 
can be atoned for. It lies heavier on my mind than it does 
on yours. If — — " 

The sharp voice of Mrs, Jones, from above, demanding 
what was the matter with Alletha's ears, that they did not hear 
the door-bell, ended the interview. A hectic spot shone on 
her cheeks as she hastened to answer it. 

The red glow had given place to a deathly pallor when she 
came in again. Mr. Brown had already settled to his writing 
and turned back his cuff. She closed the door and went up 
to him ; he stood gazing in surprise at her face. Every 
lineament expressed terror. The lips were drawn and white ; 
the eyes wild. However contaminating might have been his 
touch, he could not help taking her trembling hands. She 
suffered it, entwining her lingering fingers Vi'ithin his. 

" What has happened ? " he whispered, 

" That man hag come ; Butterby, the detective from Hel- 



MR. BROWN AT HOME. 201 

stonleigh. He says he must see Mr. Brown — you. Heaven 
have mercy on us 1 Has the blow fallen at last ? " 

" There's nothing to fear. I expected a call from him. He 
only knows me as Mr. Brown, manager to Greatorex and 
Greatorex. Let him come in." 

" I have shut him up in Mrs. Jones's parlour." 

" You must send him to me. I am only your lodger to him, 
you know. Get a little colour into your face first." 

A minute or two and Mr. Butterby was introduced, amicably 
telling Miss Rye, that, to judge by appearances, London did 
not agree with her. Mr. Brown, composedly writing, put down 
his pen in the middle of a word, and rose to receive him. 

It was a chatty interview. The great man had put on his 
agreeable manners, and talked of many things. He made 
some fatherly inquiries after the welfare of Mr. Hurst ; observ- 
ing that some of those country blades liked their fling in 
London, but he fancied young Hurst was tolerably steady. 
Mr. Brown quietly said he had no reason to suppose him 
otherwise. 

" You have been trom thirteen to fourteen years with the 
Greatorexes, I think," remarked the detective. 

Mr. Brown laughed. " From three to four." 

" Oh, I made a mistake. And before you came to them ? " 

" With a solicitor, now deceased. Mr. Greatorex can tell 
you anything of him you wish to know. He had me direct 
from him." 

"I wish to know? Not a bit of it. Vvho on earth is it 
walking about overhead? His boots have been on the go 
ever since I came in." 

" It must be Mr. Ollivera. He does walk about his rooms 
sometimes." 

" I should say his mind was restless. Thinking always of 
his brother, they tell me. It was a curious case, that, take it 
for all in all. Ever heard the particulars, Air, Brown ? " 

" Yes, Mr. Greatorex once related them to me. The young 
men in the office, too, get speaking about it." 

" Ah, they all had something to do with Counsellor Ollivera, 
so to say. Jenner was the clerk in chambers. Hurst's father 
was the surgeon called in at the death ; Yorke was in Port 
Natal at the time, but his folk knew him. Talkative young 
fellows, all the lot; like gossip, I'll be bound, better than woiL 
I'll answer that qng of 'em does — Mr. Roland Yorke." 



302 ROLAND YORKE. 

A smile crossed the manager's face at the thought of Roland's 
work. "When I hear them begin to speak of the late Mr. 
Ollivera's death, I stop it at once," he remarked. " Jenner is 
very much given to it, never considering whose office he is in. 
The name of a man who has committed suicide cannot be 
pleasant to his relations." 

"As to suicide," spoke Mr. Butterby, with a nod, "I don't 
say it was that in Ollivera's case. I don't say it was not. 
There's only two people have held out against it ; and they've 
been obstinate enough in the matter for two thousand. 
Parson Ollivera, and the young woman in this house, AUetha 
Rye." 

"On the other hand," observed the clerk, "some are as 
positive that he did commit it. Mrs. Jones for one, Mr. Bede 
Greatorex for another. They possess the same knowledge of 
the details as the other two, and are certainly as able to form 
an opinion." 

Jonas Butterby opened his mouth, but he closed it again 
without speaking. In the heat of argument his usual reticence 
had for once nearly failed him, and he all but betrayed his 
private opinion — that Bede Greatorex had grown to suspect 
Godfrey Pitman. 

" Who told you that Bede Greatorex still holds that view, 
Mr. Brown ? " 

"It is well known that he does. I have heard him say so 
myself." 

" He did hold it, and no mistake," nodded the shrewd detec- 
tive, who, upon reflection, saw no reason why he should not 
speak out. " He made as sure that it was suicide, at the time, 
as you are that that's an inkpot before you. But if he has not 
veered round a bit to a contrary opinion, my name's not Jonas 
Butterby. Bede Greatorex, in his innard breast, has taken up 
doubts of the missing man, that worthy Pitman." 

Mr. Brown got up to do something to the window-blind, and 
the peculiar look that crossed his face — not a smile, not a 
spasm of pain, not a sharp contraction of fear, but something 
of all three — was hidden from his visitor. He was calm enough 
when he came back again. 

" Did Mr. Bede Greatorex tell you so ?" 
" Not he. He let a word or two drop, and I could see at 
once that the man was on his mind. But that's not our busi- 
ness, Mr. Brown, neither rn\;st it b§ rnade sg, you understand, 



A FOUNTAIN SHIVERED. 203 

What I want to talk to you about, is the cheque affair. Let's 
go over the particulars quietly together." 

Not so very quietly to begin with. The opening of the 
street-door as if the house itself were being stormed ; a clatter 
of feet in the passage ; a loud summons to everybody — Mrs. J., 
INIiss Rye, the servant Betsy— for hot water, announced the 
arrival of Mr. Roland Yorke. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

A FOUNTAIN SHIVERED. 



The day is not yet over. It had been a busy one at the house 
of Greatorex and Greatorex. What with business, and mental 
vexation, of one or two kinds, Mr, Greatorex felt cross and 
weary as the evening drew on. 

There had been some unnecessary delay in the prosecution 
of a cause being tried at Westminster, for which Bede was in 
fault. A heavy bill for fripperies had been presented to the 
office that day, and by mistake to Mr. Greatorex instead of to 
Mrs. Bede's husband. The capricious treatment being dealt 
out to Miss Chanuing had been mentioned by Jane to her 
grandpapa ; and preparations for another enormous reception 
for that night were in active progress. All these matters, as 
well as others, were trying the usually placid temper of Mr. 
Greatorex. 

He did not appear at the dinner-table that evenmg, but had 
something taken to his own private sitting-room. Asking for 
his son Bede, he found he was not forthcoming. Bede, Mr, 
Greatorex was told, had gone to London Bridge to meet a 
steamer from France, by which his wife's sister was expected. 
Jane Greatorex ran in to her grandpapa, and asked, spoilt 
child that she was, if he would not invite her and jNIiss Chan- 
ning to drink tea with him : Mrs. Bede not having bidden them 
to her soiree. Yes, Mr. Greatorex said ; they should spend 
the evening in his room. Closed in there quietly and snugly, 
they heard only as from a distance the commotion of the large 
gathering above, and Mr. Greatorex partially forgot his cares. 

Mrs. Bede Greatorex's rooms were lighted up, shutting out 



204 BOLAND YORKE. 

the remains of daylight, when Roland Yorke entered them. 
For it was to get himself up for this soiree that Roland had 
gone home with a clatter, calling for half the people in the 
house to wait on him. The company was numerous, elbowing 
each other as usual, and fighting for space on the staircase and 
landing with the plants that lined the walls. Whatever might 
be Mrs. Bede's shortcomings in some of the duties of life, she 
never failed in one — that of gathering a vast crowd at her 
bidding. This evening was to be great in music ; and some of 
the first singers and performers of the day had been secured 
to delight the company; at what cost, was known only to 
Bede's pocket. 

Roland's chief motive in coming to it — for he did not always 
attend when invited — was to get an interview with Miss Chan- 
ning. The vision of her tearful face, seen that morning, the 
revelation contained in the careless words of Jane Greatorex, 
had been making havoc in his breast ever since. Roland 
wanted to know what it meant, and why she put up with it. 
His eyes went roaming into every corner in search of Annabel ; 
but he could not see her. 

" Ill-conditioned old stork ! " ejaculated Roland, apostrophiz- 
ing the unconscious Mrs. Bede Greatorex. " She has gone 
and kept her out of the vvay to-night." 

In consequence of this failure in his hopes, Roland had 
leisure to concentrate his attention on the general company ; 
and he did it in a slightly ungracious mood ; his blood was 
boiling up with the awful injustice (imaginary rather than real) 
dealt out to the governess. 

"And all because that nasty conceited little pig, Jane 
Greatorex, must be educated." 

"What's that, Roland?" 

Roland, in his indignation, had spoken aloud, and been 
overheard. He turned to see the bright face of Hamish Chan- 
ning, who had entered the room with his wife on his arm. 

" You here, Hamish ! Well, I never ! " 

" I have come out of my shell for once," said Hamish. 
" One cannot be always a hermit, when one possesses an exact- 
ing wife. Mine threatened me with unheard-of penalties if I 
didn't bring her here to-night" 

" Hamish !" exclaimed Mrs. Channing. " He does nothing 
but talk against me, Roland It is good for hirn to come out 
sometimes." 



A FOUNTAIN SHIVERED. 205 

"I ?ay, I can't see Annabel," cried Roland, in most resentful 
tones, as, still hoping against hope, he cast his eyes in search 
of her over people's heads, *' It's a thundering shame ! she 
is a prisoner upstairs to-night, I suppose, taking care of Jane 
Creator ex." 

" But that's no reason why you should call the little lady 
names," laughed Hamish. 

" I call her a little pig," avowed Roland. " I should like to 
call somebody else a great pig; to her face too; only she 
might turn me out for my bad manners. If there is one thing 
I hold in contempt more than another, Hamish, it is a tyrant." 

" Does that apply to Miss Annabel Channing ? " 

" Bad manners to you then, Hamish ! " cried Roland. 
"Annabel a tyrant! She's the sweetest-tempered girl in the 
world; meek and gentle and friendless here, and so that 
woman puts upon her. You used to snub her at home when 
she was a child ; they snub her here : but not one of the lot of 
you is fit to tie her shoe. There." 

Roland backed against the wall in dudgeon, and stood 
pulling at his whiskers. Hamish enjoyed these moods of 
Roland's beyond everything -, they were so genuine. 

" And if I were getting on as my father's son ought to be, 
with a decent home, and a few hundreds to keep it up, she 
shouldn't long be left to the mercy of any of you, I can tell 
you that, Mr. Channing." 

Hamish Channing's laugh was interrupted by Mrs. Bede 
Creatorex — "that woman," as Roland had just disrespectfully 
called her. Mr. and Mrs. Channing had been slowly threading 
their way to her, a difficult matter in the crush and crowd. 
She welcomed them with both hands. Hamish, a favourite of 
hers, was the courtly, sunny Hamish, as of yore ; the chief 
attraction of whatever society he might happen to be in. 

" I am very glad to see you ; but I wonder you like to show 
your face to me," said Mrs. Bede. 

"What is my offence?" inquired Hamish. 

" As if you need ask ! I don't think you've been to one of 
my gatherings for three months. If it were not for your wife, 
I should leave off sending you cards, sir," 

" It was my wife's doing tnat I am here this evening ; she 
absolutely dragged me out," answered saucy Hamish. " You've 
no idea how she puts upon a fellow, Mrs. Creatorex." 

Ellen laughed. " The real truth is, Mrs. Creatorex, that he 



2o6 ROLAND YORKE. 

was a little less pressed with work than usual, and came of h- 1 
own accord." 

" That horrid work," spoke Mrs. Bede. " You are a slave 
to it." 

" Wait until my fortune's made," said Hamish. 

" That will be when your book's out ! " 

*' Oh yes, of course." 

The answer was given lightly. But a slight hectic came 
into his face, his voice unconsciously took a deeper tone. 
Heaven alone knew what that anticipated book already was to 
his spirit. 

" When will it be finished ? " 

" It is finished." 

" How glad you must be ! " concluded Mrs. Bede. 

The evening went on. Roland kept his place against the 
wall, looking as if every one was his natural enemy. On the 
whole, Roland did not like soirees ; there was no room for his 
elbows ; and the company never seemed to him to behave 
naturally. Having come out to this one for the purpose of 
meeting Annabel, Roland could only regard the disappoint- 
ment in the light of a personal grievance, and resent it 
accordingly. 

In the midst of a tremendous cavatina, loud enough to 
raise the ceiling, while the room was preparing itself to 
applaud, and Roland was thinking it might have been more 
agreeable if given out of doors, he happened to raise his 
head, and saw Gerald opposite to him. Their eyes met. 
Roland nodded, but Gerald made no response. Gerald 
happened to be standing next to Hamish Channing. 

And the two were attracting some attention, for they were 
known by many present to be rising stars in the literary world. 
Side by side they stood, the aspiring candidates for literary 
honours, soon to be enrolled amidst the men who have written 
books. Which of them — that is, which work — would be the 
more successful? That remained to be learnt. Hamish 
Channing had the advantage (and a very great one) in looks ; 
any one might see that : Hamish had the advantage in 
scholarship ; and he had the advantage, though perhaps the 
world could not yet see it, of genius. Hamish Channing's 
education had been sound and comprehensive : he was a 
College man. Gerald was not. Mr. Channing the elder had 
been straitened in means, as the public has heard of, but he 



A FOUNTAIN SHIVERED. C07 

had contrived to send his eldest son to Cambridge. A 
wonderful outward difference was there in the two men, as 
they stood side by side : wouid there be as much contrast in 
their work. 

Gerald was looking fierce. The sight of Hamish Channing 
brought to his mind the adverse opinion pronounced on his 
manuscript. His resentment had grown more bitter ; his 
determination to be revenged, into a firm and fixed resolve. 
He could not completely cut Hamish, as it was his pleasure to 
cut his brother Roland, but he was haughty and distant to 
him. Hamish, genial himself, his attention distracted by the 
assembly, observed it not. 

The crashing came to an end, the applause also, and in the 
general move that succeeded, Roland escaped. Seeing a 
vacant sofa in a comparatively deserted room, he took pos- 
session of one end of it. A fashionable young woman seated 
herself at the other end and took a survey of him. 

" I am sure you are one of the Yorkes of Helstonleigh ! Is 
it Roland ? " 

Roland turned to the speaker : and observed a general 
resemblance to Mrs. Bede Greatorex. 

" Yes, I am Roland," he answered, staring. 

" Don't you remember me ? — Clare Joliffe ? " 

" Good gracious ! " cried Roland, seizing her hand and 
shaking it vigorously. Clare Joliffe had never been a par- 
ticular favourite of his ; but, regarded in the light of a home 
face, she was agreeably welcome. "What brings you here, 
Miss Joliffe ? " 

" I have come over on a visit," said the young lady. 
** Louisa has invited me for the first time since her marriage. 
I only arrived at seven o'clock to-night; we had a rough 
passage, and the boat was late." 

" Over from where ? What boat ? " 

" Boulogne." 

" Have you been staying- there ? " 

" We are living there. "We have left Helstonleigh — oh, 
ever so long ago. Mamma grew tired of it, and so did I and 
Mary." 

Roland's ill-humour disappeared with the old reminiscences, 
for they plunged into histories past and present. Home days 
and home people, mixed with slight anecdotes of Port Natal 
Ufe. Mrs. Joliffe had quitted Helstonleigh very shortly after 



Po8 ROLAND YORKE. 

that occurrence that had so startled the town— the death of 
John OHivera. It was perhaps natural, perhaps only a curious 
accident, that the sad fact should be reverted to between them 
now as they talked : we all know how one subject leads to 
another. Clare Joliffe grew confidential about that and other 
things. One bond she and Roland seemed to have between 
them to-night — a grievance against Mrs. Bede Greatorex. 
Roland's consisted in that lady's unkind treatment (real or 
fancied) of Miss Channing, the idea of which he had but 
picked up that self-same day. Clare Joliffe's resentment 
appeared to be more general, and of longer standing. 

" It's such an unkind thing of her, Roland — I may call you 
Roland, I suppose?" 

" Call me Ro if you like," said easy Roland 

" Here's Louisa in this position, servants, carriages, and 
company about her, no children, living like a queen ; and 
never once has she invited me or Mary inside her doors. It's 
a great sham.e. She should hear what mamma thinks of it. 
I don't suppose she would have asked me now, only she could 
not well avoid it, as I am passing through London to visit some 
friends in the country. Mamma wrote to ask her to take me 
in for the night, and then she wrote back, inviting me to stay 
with her for a week or two." 

"Why should she not have had you before?" 

" Oh, I don't suppose there has been any special reason, 
except that she has not thought of it. Louisa was always 
made up of selfishness. We never fancied she'd marry Bede 
Greatorex. 

"Why not?" 

" At least, what we thought was, that Bede would not marry 
her. He must have cared for her very much, or he would not 
have done so, after the affair about John OHivera." 

"What had that to do with it?" questioned Roland, open- 
ing his eyes — for he supposed the young lady was alluding to 
the barrister's death. 

" She engaged herself to both of them." 

"Who did?" 

" Louisa." 

" Did she ! " 

Clare Joliffe nodded. " We never quite understood how it 
Vvas, She was up here on a visit for ever so long, weeks and 
Weeks; it was in the time of Mrs. Greatorex; and if she did 



A FOUirfAIN SHIVERED. 5d>> 

not engage herself to Bede, there was at least a good 
deal of flirtation going on between them. We learned that 
after Louisa returned home. The next year, when John 
Ollivera was at Helstonleigh, she had a flirtation with him. 
I know she used to \\Tite to both of them. Any way, at ttie 
time of his last visit, when his death occurred, she had managed 
to engage herself to the two." 

" I've heard of two wives, but I never heard of two engage- 
ments going on together," observed Roland. " \\ hich of the 
fellows did she like best ? " 

" I think she liked John Ollivera. But Bede had a ready- 
made income to offer her, and money went for a great deal 
with Louisa. She could not marry both, that \v-as certain ; and 
how she would have got out of the dilemma but for poor John 
Ollivera's death, it is impossible to imagine. I never shall 
forget her look the night Bede Greatorex came in unexpectedly. 
We had a few friends with us ; mamma had invited Mr. 
Ollivera, and tea waited for him. There was a ring at the 
bell, and then the room-door opened for some one to be shown 
in. ' Here's your counsellor,' I whispered to Louisa. Instead 
of that, the servant announced Mr. Bede Greatorex ; Louisa's 
face turned ghastly." 

" I don't understand," said Roland, rather at sea. " ^^'hen 
was it .'"' 

" It was the night of John Ollivera's death. He was in 
Helstonleigh for the assizes, you know ; was to have pleaded 
the next day in a cause mamma was interested in. He said 
he would come in to tea if he were able ; and when Bede 
Greatorex appeared we were all surprised, not knowing that 
he was in Helstonleigh. We still expected Mr. Ollivera, and 
Louisa kept throwing frightened glances at the door every 
time it opened. I know she felt at her wit's end ; for, of course, 
with both lovers on the scene, a crisis was inevitable, and her 
deceit would have to come out. Bede Greatorex was whisper- 
ing to her at times throughout the evening; there seemed to 
be some trouble bet . een them. Mr. Ollivera did not come — 
Bede told us he had ieft him busy, and complaining of a head- 
ache. I thought Bede seemed very angry with Louisa ; and 
as soon as he left, she bolted herself into her chamber, and we 
did not see her again that night. The next morning she sent 
word down she was ill, and remained in bed. Mary said she 
knew what ailed her — worry : but I thought she only wished 

Roland Yorke. 14 



2id ROLAND YORKE. 

to avoid being downstairs if the two called. We were at 
breakfast when Hurst, the surgeon, came in — he was attending 
mamma at the time — and brought the dreadful news to us, that 
Mr. Ollivera had been found dead. I carried the tidings up 
to Louisa, and told her that she must have gone out and 
killed him. Nothing else could have extricated her so com- 
pletely from the dilemma." 

" But — you don't mean that she — that she went out and 
killed him ? " cried Roland, in wonder. " Could she have got 
out without being seen ? " 

" Of course I don't mean it ; I said it in joke. Why, Roland, 
you must be stupid to ask such a thing." 

*' To be sure I must," answered Roland, in contrition. " It's 
all through my having been at Port Natal." 

The last word was drowned in a shiver of glass. Both 
turned hastily. Mr. Bede Greatorex, in taking his elbow from 
the cabinet behind the sofa, had accidentally knocked down a 
miniature fountain of Bohemian glass, which had been throw- 
ing up its choice perfume. 

*' He certainly heard me," breathed Clare Joliffe, excessively 
discomfited. " I never knew he was there." 

The breakage caused a slight commotion, and must have 
annoyed Mr. Bede Greatorex. He rang the bell loudly for a 
servant, and those who caught sight of his face, saw that it was 
white, and wore a stillness painful as death. 

Roland made his escape. The evening, so far as he was 
concerned, seemed a failure, and he thought he would leave 
the rooms without further ceremony. Leaping down the stair- 
case half-a-flight at a time, he met Jane Greatorex ascending, 
attended by her coloured maid. 

" Halloa ! what brings you sitting up so late as this ? " cried 
Roland. 

"We've been spending the evening with grandpapa in his 
room," answered Jane. " He gave us some cakes and jam, 
and Miss Channing made tea. I have to go to bed now.'' , 

" Where's Miss Channing ? " 

"She's in grandpapa's room, waiting to finish the curtain I 
tore." 

Away went Roland, casting thought to the winds in the 
prospect of seeing Annabel at last, and burst into Mr. 
(]reatorex's room, after giving a smart knock at the door. The 
wonder was that he knocked at all. Annabel was alone. 



I 



A FOUNTAIN SHIVERED. 211 

mending the crimson silk curtain of the lower book-case. 
Jane, throwing it open to look for some book, had torn the 
curtain woefully ; so Miss Channing took it out and began to 
repair it. To be thus unceremoniously invaded brought a flush 
to her cheeks — perhaps she could not have told why — and 
Roland saw that her eyes Avere red and heavy. Sitting at the 
table, near the lamp, she Avent on quietly with her work. 

" Where's old Greatorex ? " demanded Roland. " I thought 
he was here." 

" Mr. Greatorex has gone into his private office. Some one 
came to see him." 

Down sat Roland on the other side of the table ; and, as a 
preliminary to proceedings, took a long stare right into the 
young lady's face. 

" I say, Annabel, why are you not at the party to-night ? " 

" I don't always care to go in. Mrs. Greatorex gives so many 
parties." 

" Well, I came to it only for one purpose ; and that was to see 
you. I should not have bothered to dress myself for any one else. 
Hamish and his wife are there." 

" I did not feel very well this evening." 

*' No, I don't suppose you did. And, besides that, I expect 
the fact is, that Mrs. Bede never invited you. She /s a 
beauty ! " 

"Roland!" 

" You may go on at me till to-morroAv if you like, Annabel ; 
I shall say it. She's a tyrannical, mean-spirited, heartless image ; 
and I shall tell her so some day to her face. You should hear 
what Clare Joliffe says of her selfishness." 

In the midst of her vexation, INIiss Channing could not help 
smiling. Roland was never more serious in his life. 

"And I want to know what she had been doing to-day, to 
put you into that grief I witnessed." 

Annabel coloured and almost shed tears. It was a home 
question, and brought back all the trouble connected with her 
position in the house. Whether Mrs. Bede Greatorex had taken 
a dislike to her, or whether that lady's temper was alone in fault, 
Miss Channing did not know ; but a great deal of petty annoy- 
ance was heaped upon her almost daily, sometimes bordering 
upon insult. Roland, however, was much mistaken if he thought 
she would admit anything of the kind to him. 

" I see what it is ; you are too generous to say it's true," he 



212 ROLAND YORKE. 

observed, after vainly endeavouring to get some satisfactory 
answer. " You are too good for this house, Annabel, and I only 
wish I could take you out of it." 

" Oh, thank you," she said, with a quiet smile, not in the least 
suspecting his meaning. 

" And into one of my own." 

" One of your own ? " 

The remark came from her in simple surprise. She looked 
up at Roland. 

" Yes, one of mine. But for bringing you to the fate of 
Gerald's wife, I'd marry you to-morrow, Annabel." 

In spite of the earnest, matter-of-fact tone in which he 
spoke, almost as if asserting he would take a voyage in the 
clouds but for its impossibility, Annabel was covered with 
confusion. 

*' Some one else's consent would have to be obtained to that 
bargain," she said in a lame, hesitating kind of way, as she bent 
her head over a tangle in the red sewing-silk. 

"Some one else's consent' You don't mean to say you 
wouldn't marry me, Annabel ! " 

" I don't say I would." 

Roland looked fierce. " You couldn't perjure yourself , 
couldfit^ Annabel ; don't you know what you always said — that 
you'd be my wife ? " 

" But I was only a senseless little child then " 

" I don't care if you were. I mean it to be carried out. 
Why, Annabel, who else in the world, but you, do you suppose 
I'd marry ? " 

Annabel did not say. Her fingers were working quickly to 
finish the curtain. 

" I can tell you 1 am looking forward to it, if you are not. I 
vowed to Hamish to-night that you should not remain here 
another day if I could Good evening, sir." 

Mr. Greatorex, returning to the room, looked a little sur- 
prised to see a gentleman in it, who rose to receive him. 
Recognizing Roland, he greeted him civilly. 

" Is It you, Mr. Yorke ? Do you want me ? " 

"No, sir, Coming down from the kick-up, I met Janey, 
who said Miss Channing was here ; so I turned in to see her. 
She's as unhappy in this house as she can be, Mr. Greatorex ; 
<blks have tempers, you know; and in catching a glimpse of 
htr face this morning, I saw it red with tears and trouble. 



A FOUNTAIN SHIVERED. 213 

Look at her eyes now, sir. So I came to say that if I could 
help it by taking her out and marrying her, she should not be 
here another day. I was saying it when you came in, Mr. 
Greatorex." 

To hear the single-minded young fellow avowing this, stand- 
ing there in his earnest simplicity, in his great height, was 
something to laugh at. But Mr. Greatorex detected the rare 
good-feeling. 

" I am afraid Miss Channing may think your declaration 
premature, Mr. Yorke. You are scarcely in circumstances to 
keep yourself, let alone a wife." 

" That's just the misfortune of it," said candid Roland. 
" My pound a week does for me, and that's all. But I thought 
I'd let her know it was the power to serve her that was wanting, 
not the will. And now that it's said, I've done with the matter, 
and will wish you good night, Mr. Greatorex. Good night, 
Annabel. Hark at that squalling upstairs ! I wonder the cats 
outside don't set up a chorus ! " 

And Mr. Yorke went out in commotion. 

" He does not mean anything, sir," said Annabel Channing 
rather piteously to Mr. Greatorex. " I hope you will pardon 
him ; he is just like a boy." 

" I am sure he does not mean any harm," was the lawyer's 
answer, his lips parting with a smile. " Never were two so 
much alike in simplicity and good-nature as he and his Uncle 
Carrick. Don't let his thoughtless words trouble you, 
child." 

Roland, clearing the streets at a few bounds, dashed home, 
and into Mrs, Jones's parlour, a light through the half-open door 
proving that that lady was in it. It was past eleven : as a rule 
Mrs. Jones liked to keep early hours ; but she appeared to have 
no intention of going to bed yet. 

" Are you working for a wager, Mrs. J. ? " asked Roland, 
alluding to the work in her nimble fingers. 

" I am working not to waste my time, Mr. Yorke, while 
sitting up lor AUetha Rye. She is not in yet." 

" Out on the spree?" cried Roland. 

" She and sprees haven't much to do with each other," said 
Mrs. Jones. " There's a little child ill a few doors higher up, and 
Alletha has gone in to sit with her. But she ought to have been 
home by eleven. And how have you enjoyed yourself, Mr 
Yorke ? " 



214 ROLAND YORKE. 

"I say, ^Irs. J., don't go talking about enjoyment," spoke 
Roland, resentfully. " It has been a miserable failure alto- 
gether. Not a soul there ; the men and women howling like 
mad ; and one's elbows crushed in the crowd. Catch me 
dressing for another ! " 

Mrs. J. thought the answer slightly contradictory. " If there 
was not a soul there, Mr. Yorke, how could your elbows get 
crushed ? " 

" There was not a soul I cared for. Plenty of idiots. 
I don't say Hamish Channing and his wife are that, though. 
Clare Joliffe was there. Do you remember her at Hel- 
stonleigh ? " 

\ " Clare .'' Let me see — Clare was the second daughter : 
next to Mrs. Bede Greatorex. And very much like her." 

Roland nodded. " She and I were sitting on a sofa, nobody 
to be seen within earshot, and she began talking of the night 
Mr. Ollivera died. You should have heard her, Mrs. J. She 
went on like anything at her sister, calling her selfish and false 
and deceitful, and other good names. All in a minute there 
was a crash of glass behind us, and we turned to see Bede 
Greatorex standing there, /had not spoken treason against 
his wife, but I didn't like him to have seen me listening to it. 
It was an awkward situation. If I had a wife, I should not 
care to hear her abused." 

" But what caused the crash ?" asked practical Mrs. J. 

" Oh, Bede's elbow had touched a perfume-fountain, and sent 
it over," said Roland, carelessly. " It was a beautiful thing, 
costing, I'm sure, no end of money, and Mrs. Bede had filled 
it with scent for the evening. She'll go into tantrums over it 
when the company departs. Were I Bede I should tell her 
it blew up of itself." 

"Is Miss Clare Joliffe staying there?" 

" Arrived to-day by the boat. The Joliffes are living in 
France now. She says it is the first time Mrs. Bede has 
invited any of them inside her doors : it was the thought of 
that, you know, that caused her to go on so. Not that I like 
Mrs. Bede much better than she does. She can be a tyrant 
when she likes, Mrs. J. ! " 

" To her husband ? " 

" Oh, I don't know anything about that. Bede's big enough 
to put her down if she tries it on with him. She is one in the 
house." 



A FOUNTAIN SHIVERED. 21;, 

" Like a good many other mistresses," remarked Mrs. J. " I 
wish AUetha would make haste." 

" She never asked Miss Channing and Httle Greatorex to 
her party to-night," continued Roland. "Not that it was 
any loss for Miss Channing, you know; only I went there 
thinking to see her. Old Greatorex had them to spend the 
evening in his parlour. Had I been Hamish I should just 
have said, 'Where's my sister, that she is not present?' Oh, 
yes, she can be a tyrant ! And do you know, what with 
one cross thing and another, I forgot to ask Hamish if he 
had heard the news about Arthur. It went clean out of my 
mind." 

]\Irs. Jones, rather particularly occupied with a knot in her 
work, made no reply. Roland, thinking perhaps his revela- 
tions as to Mrs. Bede had been sufficiently extensive, sat for 
some minutes in silence ; his face bent forward, his elbow on 
his knee, in deep thought. 

"I say, Mrs. J., how much do you think two people could 
live upon ? " he said at last. 

"That depends upon who they are, Mr. Yorke." 

" Well, I mean — I don't mind telling you in confidence— 
me and another. A wife, for instance." 

Had Roland said Me and a Kangaroo, Mrs. Jones could not 
have looked at him with more surprise — albeit not one to be 
surprised in general. 

" I should like to take her from there, for she's shamefully 
tyrannized over. We need not mention names, but you guess 
I dare say who's meant, and you are not to go and repeat it 
to the parish. If I could get my pay increased to three or 
four times what it is, by dint of doing extra work and putting 
my shoulder to the wheel in earnest ; and if she could get 
a couple of nice morning pupils at about fifty pounds a-piece, 
that would make three-hundred a year. Now don't you think, 
Mrs. J., we might get along with that ? " 

"Well — yes," answered Mrs. Jones, speaking with some 
hesitation, and rather to satisfy the earnest, eager face waiting 
for her opinion, than in accordance with her belief. "The 
worst of it is that prospects rarely turn out as they arc 
expected to." 

" Now what do you mean, Mrs. J. ? Three-hundred a year 
is three-hundred a year. Let us be on the safe side, if you 
like, and put it down at two hundred : which would be 



2i6 ROLAND YORKE 

allowing for my present pay being only doubled. Do you 
mean to say two people could not live on two hundred a year ? 
I know we could ; she and I." 

"Two people might, when both are economically inchned. 
But then you see, Mr. Yorke, one ought always to allow for 
contingencies." 

"What contingencies ?" demanded Roland 

" Sickness. Or pay of pupils falling off." 

" VVe are both as healthy as ever we can be," said Roland, 
heartily. "If I had not been strong and sound as a young 
lion, should I have stood all that knocking about at Port 
Natal ? As to pay and pupils, we might take care to make 
t/ie»i sure." 

" There might be things to increase expenses," persisted 
Mrs. Jones, maintaining her ground as usual. " Children, for 
instance." 

Roland stared with all his eyes. Children ! " 

" It would be within the range of possibility, I suppose, 
Mr. Yorke. Your brother Gerald has some." 

" Oh law 1" cried Roland, his countenance falling. 

" And nobody knows what a trouble they are and how much 
they cost — except those who have tried it. A regular flock 
might come trooping down before you are well aware of it." 

The vista presented to Roland was one his sangume 
thoughts had never so much as glanced at. A flock of 
children had not appeared to him less likely to arrive, than 
that he should set up a flock of parrots , and he candidly 
avowed it. 

" But we shouldn't want any children, Mrs. J." 

Mrs. J. gave a rather derisive cough. " I've often known 
those that want the fewest get bothered with the most." 

Roland had not another word to answer. He was pulling 
his whiskers in much gloom when Miss Rye was heard to 
enter. Mrs. Jones began to roll her v/ork together, prepara- 
tory to retiring for the night. 

*' Look here, Mrs. Jones. I'm uncommonly fond of children 
— you should see how I like that sweet Nelly Channing — I 
wouldn't mind having a score about the place ; but what be- 
comes of the little monkeys when there's not bread and cheese 
to feed them on ? " 

"Ay, there's the rub, Mr. Yorke." 



( 217 ) 

CHAPTER XIV. 

GRAND REVIEWS. 

Gerald Yorke's book was out. An enterprising firm of pub- 
lishers had been found to undertake it, and they brought it 
forth in due course to the public. Great reviews followed 
closely upon its advent, lauding its merits and beauties to the 
skies. Three critiques appeared in one week. The great 
morning paper gave one, as did the two chief weekly reviewing 
journals. And eacn one in its turn sang or said that for ages 
the public had not been so blest as in this most meritorious 
work of fiction. 

In his writing-room, the three glorious reviews before him, 
sat Hamish Channing, heart and face alike glowing. Had 
the praises been bestowed upon himself, he could scarcely 
have rejoiced more. How Gerald must have altered the book, 
he thought : and he felt grieved and vexed to have passed so 
uncompromising a judgment upon his friend's capabilities as 
a writer of fiction, when the manuscript was submitted to 
him. "It must have been that he wrote it too hastily, and 
has now brought time and consideration to his aid," decided 
Hamish. 

Carrying the papers in his hand he sought his wife, and in 
the fulness of his heart read out to her the most telling 
sentences. Though bitter the resentment that Gerald was 
cherishing against Hamish Channing, he could only have 
experienced giatification had he witnessed the genuine pleasure 
of both, the hearty emphasis which Hamish gave to the 
praises bestowed on the author. 

"How hard he must have worked at it, Ellen." 

" Yes ; I did not think Gerald had so much application in 
him." 

With his arm on the elbow of his chair, and his refined 
face a little raised as it rested on his hand, Hamish took 
a few moments for thought. The eyes seemed to be seeking 
for something in the evening sky; the sweet light of hope 
unmistakably illumined the whole countenance. Hamish 
Channing was gazing at the vision that had become so entirely 



2i8 ROLAND YORKE. 

his; one that was rarely absent from him; seemed to be 
depicted in all its radiant colours whenever he looked upon it. 
Fame, reward, appreciation ; all were stirring his spirit within, 
in the vivid light of expectation. 

"And, if Gerald's book has received this praise, what will 
not mine obtain?" ran his thoughts. For Hamish knew that, 
try as Gerald would, it was not in him to write as he himself 
could write. 

He went forth to congratulate Gerald, unable to remain 
silent under this great fame that had fallen on his early friend. 
Being late in the day, he thought Gerald might be found at 
his wife's lodgings, for he knew he had been there more than 
usual of late. 

True. Gerald sought the lodgmgs as a sort of refuge. 
His chambers had become disagreeably hot, and it was only 
by dint of the utmost caution on his own part, and diligence 
on his servant's, that he could venture into them or out of 
them. The lodgings were less known, and Gerald felt safer 
there. Things were going very contrary with him just now; 
money seemed wanted by his wife and his children and his 
creditors, all in a hurry, not to speak of the greatest need, 
himself; and there were moments when Gerald Yorke felt that 
he might have to seek some far-off city of refuge, as Roland 
had done, and sail for a Port Natal. 

There was no one in the sitting-room when Hamish Chan- 
ning entered. The maid said Mr Yorke had gone out ; Mrs. 
Yorke was putting her children to bed. On the table, side by 
side with the papers containing the three great reviews, lay 
a copy of the work. Hamish took it up eagerly, anxious to 
see the new writing that had superseded the old. 

He could not find it. One or two bad passages, specially 
remembered, caught his eye ; they were there still, unaltered. 
Had Gerald carelessly overlooked them ? Hamish was turning 
over the pages in wonder, when Winny came in. 

Came in, cross, fractious, tearful. Lonely as Mrs. Gerald 
Yorke's life had been in Gloucestershire, she had long wished 
herself back there, for her life in London was becoming too 
trying. Winny had none of the endurance that some wives 
possess, who love and suffer on. 

She came up to Hamish with outstretched hand. But for 
his and Ellen's generous friendship, she could not have borne 
things at all. Many and many a day there would have been 



GRAND REVIEWS. 219 

no dinner for the poor little girls, no money in hand for the 
petty creditors supplying their daily wants, no comfort of any 
sort at home, but for the unobtiusive, silent aid of Hamish 
Channing. 

" What is the matter, Winny ? " asked Hamish, noticing 
the tears. And he spoke very much as he would speak to 
a child. In fact, Mrs. Gerald Yorke had to be treated as 
one. 

" Gerald has been so cross ; he boxed litde Kitty's ears, and 
nearly boxed mine," pleaded poor Winny, putting herself into 
a low rocking-chair, near the window. " It is so unreasonable 
of him, you know, Mr. Channing, to vent it upon us. It's just 
as if it were our fault." 

"Vent what?" asked Hamish, taking a seat at the table, 
and facing hen 

"All of it," said Winny, in her childish, fractious way. 
" His want of money, and the many bothers he is in. 1 can't 
help it. I would if I could, but if I can't, I can't, and Gerald 
knows I can't." 

" In bothers as usual?," spoke Hamish, in his gay way. 

" He is never out of them, Mr. Channing ; you know he is 
not ; and they get worse and worse. Gerald has no certain 
income at all ; and it seems to me that what he earns by 
writing, whether for magazines or for uc^wspapers, is always 
drawn beforehand, for he never has any money to bring home. 
Of course the tradespeople come and ask for their money ; of 
course the landlady expects to be paid her weekly rent ; and 
when they insist on seeing Gerald, or stop him when he goes 
out, he comes back in such a passion as you never saw. She 
made him savage this evening, and he took and boxed Kitty." 

" She ! Who ? " 

"The landlady— Miss Cook." 

"Winny, I paid Miss Cook myself, last week." 

" Oh, but I didn't tell you there was more owing to her ; I 
didn't like to," answered helpless Winny. " There is ; and 
she has begun to worry at all times. She gets things in for us, 
and wants to be paid for them." 

" Of course she does," thought Hamish. " Where's Gerald ? " 
he asked. 

" Gone out somewhere. You know that money you let me 
have to pay the horrible bill I couldn't sleep for, and didn't 
dare give to Gerald," she continued, putting up her hands 



220 ROLAND YORKE. 

to her little distressed face. " I've something to tell you 
about it." 

Hamish was puzzled. The bills he and his wife had ad- 
vanced money for were growing numerous. Winny, rocking 
herself gently, saw he did not recollect 

"It was for the shoes and stockings for the children and 
boots for myself ; we had nothing to wear. Ellen brought me 
the money last Saturday — three pounds — though the bill was 
not quite as much as that. Well, Gerald saw the sovereigns 
lying in the dressing-table drawer — it was so stupid of me to 
leave them there ! — and he took them. First he asked me where 
I'd got them from ; I said I had scraped them up to pay for the 
children's shoes. Upon that, he put them in his pocket, saying 
he had bills far more pressing than children's shoe bills, and 
must take Jhem for his own use. 0-o-o-o-o-oh ! " concluded 
the young wife, with a burst of her childish grief, " I am very 
miserable." 

" You should have told your husband the money belonged 
to Mrs. Channing — and was given to you by her for a special 
puipose." 

" Good gracious ! " cried Winny, astonishment arresting 
the tears in her pretty eyes. " As if I would dare to tell him 
that ! If Gerald thought you or Ellen helped me, he would 
be in the worst passion of all. I'm not sure but he'd beat 
me." 

"Why?" 

" He would think that I was running up a debt on my 
own score for him to pay back sometime. And he has 
such oceans of pride, besides. You never must tell him, Mr. 
Channing." 

" How does he think the accounts get paid ? " asked 
Hamish. 

" He does not think about it," she answered eagerly. " So 
long as he is not bothered, he won't be bothered. He will 
never look at a single bill, or hear me speak of one. As far as 
he knows, the people and Miss Cook come and worry me for 
money regularly. But oh ! Mr. Channing ! if I were to be 
worried to any degree, I should die. I should wish to die, for 
I could «ot bear it. Ellen knows I could not." 

Yes ; in a degree, Hamish and his wife both knew this. 
Winny Yorke was quite unfitted to battle with the storms of 
the world; they could not see her breasting them, and zoi 



GRAND REVIEWS. 22i 

help her. A brother of hers — and Gerald was aware of this — 
who had been overwhelmed with the same, proved how ill 
he was fitted to bear, by putting a terrible end to them and all 
else. 

" And so, that bill for the shoes and stockings was not paid, 
and they came after it to-day, and abused Gerald — for I had 
told them I should pay ready money," pursued Winny, rockmg 
away. " Oh, he was so angry ! he forbid me to buy shoes ; he 
said the children must go barefooted until he was in a better 
position. If the man comes to-morrow, and insists on seeing 
me, I shall have to run away. And Fredy's ill." 

The wind-up was rather unexpected, and given in a different 
tone. Fredy was the eldest of the little girls, Kitty the second, 
Rosy the third. 

" If she should be going to have measles, the others will be 
sure to catch it, and then what should I do ? " went on Winny, 
piteously " I'here'd be a doctor to pay for, and medicine to be 
had, and I don't thmk druggists give credit to strangers. But 
it may turn out to be only a bad cold." 

'• To be sure it may," said Hamish, cheerily. '•' Hope for 
the best, ]\Irs. Yorke Ellen always does." 

Mrs. Yorke sighed. Ellen's husband was very different 
from hers. 

"Gerald ism luck; he will soon, I think, be able to get 
over his difficulties. Have you read these reviews?" con- 
tinued Hamish, laying his hand upon the journals at his elbow. 

" Oh yes, I've read them," was the answer, given with 
slighting discontent. 

"I never read anything finer — in the way of praise — than 
this review in the Snarkr" spoke Hamish. 

" He wrote that himself." 

" Wrote what ? " 

" That review in the Snarkr''' 

" Who wrote it ? " pursued Hamish, rather at sea. 

" Gerald did." 

" Nonsense, Winny. You must be mistaken." 

" I'm sure I'm not," said Winny, " He wrote it at this very 
table. He was three hours writing it, and then he was nearly 
as long altering it : taking out words and sentences and putting 
in stronger one.s." 

Hamish, when his surprise was over, laughed slightly. It 
had a little destroyed his romance. 



222 ROLAND YORICE. 

" And two friends of Gerald's wrote the other reviews," said 
Winny, continuing her revelations. " Gerald has great in- 
fluence with the reviewing people ; he says he can get any 
work made or marred." 

"Oh, can he?" quoth Hamish, lightly. "At least, these 
reviews will tell with the public and sell the book. Why, 
Winny, instead of being low-spirited, you have cause to be just 
the other v/ay. It is a great thing to have got this book so 
well out. It may make Gerald's fortune." 

Winny sat bolt upright in the rocking-chair, and looked at 
Hamish with a puzzled face. He supposed that she did not 
understand. 

" What I mean, Winny, is that this book may really lead 
to fortune in the end. If Gerald once becomes known as a 
successful author " 

" Bringing out that book has caused him to be ten times 
more worried than before," interrupted Winny. " Of course it 
is known that he has a book out, and the consequence is that 
every one who has sixpence owing by either of us, is dunning 
him for money — just as if the book had made his fortune 
already ! He cannot go to his char.ibers, unless he shoots in 
like a cat ; and he is getting afraid to come here. My opinion 
is, that he'd have been better off without the book than 
with it." 

This was not a particularly pleasant 'view of affairs ; but 
Hamish was far from subscribing to all Winny said. He 
answered with his cheering smile, that was worth its weight in 
gold, and rose to leave. 

" Things are always darkest just before dawn, Mrs. Yorke. 
And I must repeat my opinion — that this book will lay the 
foundation of Gerald's fortune. He will soon get out of his 
embarrassments." 

" Well, I don't understand it, but I know he says the book 
has plunged him into fresh debt," returned Winny, gloomily. 
" I think he has had to pay an immense deal to get it out." 

Hamish was turning over the leaves of the book as he 
stood. Winny at once offered to lend it him : there were two 
or three copies about the house, she said. Accepting the 
offer, for he really wished to see the great alterations Gerald 
must have made, Hamish was putting the three volumes under 
his arm wlien the street-door opened, and Gerald came 
running up. 



Crand reviews. 2^^ 

" Well, old friend ! " cried Hamish, heartily, as he shook 
Gerald's hand. " I came to Avish you joy." 

Winny disappeared. Never feeling altogether at ease in the 
presence of her clever, stern, arbitrary husband, she was glad 
to escape from it when she could. Hamish and Gerald stood 
at the window, talking together in the fading light, their theme 
Gerald's book, the reviews, and other matters connected with 
it. Hamish spoke the true sentiments of his heart when he 
said how glad and proud he was, for Gerald's sake. 

"I have been telling your wife that it is the first stepping- 
stone to fortune. It must be a great success, Gerald." 

" Ah, I thought you were a little out in the opinion you 
formed of it," said Gerald, loftily. 

" I am thankful it has proved so. You have taken pains to 
alter it, Gerald." 

" Not much : /thought it did very well as it was. And the 
result proves I was right," added Gerald, complacently. " Have 
you read the reviews ? " 

" I should think I have," said Hamish, warmly. " They 
brought me here to-night. Reviews such as those will take the 
public by storm." 

" Yes ; they tell rather a different tale from the verdict passed 
by you. You assured me I should never succeed in fiction ; 
had mistaken my vocation ; hadn't its elements within me ; 
might shut up shop. What do the reviews say ? Look at that 
one in the Snarler" continued Gerald, snatching up that noted 
authority, and holding it up to the twilight, while he read an 
extract from its pages aloud. 

" We do not know how to find terms of sufficiently high praise 
for this marvellously beautiful work of fiction. The grateful 
public, now running after its three volumes, cannot be supplied 
fast enough. From the first page to the last, attention is 
rapturously enchained ; one cannot put the book down " 

"And so on, and so on," continued Gerald, breaking off 
the recital, and flinging the paper behind him again. " No 
good to continue, as you've read it Yes, that is praise from 
the Snarkr. Worth having, I take it," he concluded in 
unmistakable triumph over his fellow-man and author, quite 
unconscious that poor simple Winny had let the cat out of the 
bag. 

"If reviews ever iell a book, these must sell yours, 
Gerald." 



224 ROLAND YORKE. 

" I think so. We shall see whether your book gets as much ; 
it's finished, I hear," spoke Gerald, leaning from the window 
to survey a m.an who had just crossed the stieet. " One never 
can tell what luck a work will have while it is in manuscript." 

" One can tell what it ought to have." 

" Ought ! oughts don't go for much nowadays ; favour does, 
though. The devil take the fellow ! " 

This genial wish was applied to the man who had made for 
the house-door and was ringing the bell. Gerald grew just a 
little troubled, and betrayed it. 

" Don't let these matters disturb your peace, Gerald," advised 
Hamish, in his kindest and most impressive manner. " You 
cannot fail to get on now. Have the publishers paid you any- 
thing yet ? " 

" Paid me 1 " retorted Gerald, rather savagely ; " they are 
asking for the money I owe them. It was arranged that I 
should advance fifty pounds towards bringing the book out. 
And I've not been able to give it them yet." 

Gerald spoke the truth. The confiding publishers, not 
knowing the true state of Mr. Yorke's finances, but supposing 
there could be no danger with a man in his position — living in 
the great world, of aristocratic connections, getting his name 
up in journalism — had accepted in all good faith his plausible 
excuses for the deferred payment of the fifty pounds, and 
brought out the book at their own cost. They were reminding 
him of it now ; and more than hinting that a bargain 7cias a 
bargain. 

" x\nd how I am to stave them off, the deuce only knows," 
observed Gerald. " I want to keep in with them if I can. 
The idea of m.y finding fifty pounds ! " 

" There must very soon be proceeds from a book with such 
reviews as these," said Hamish. " Let them take it out of 
their first returns." 

" Oh, ah ! that's all very well ; but I don't know," w^as the 
gloomy answer. 

"Well, good night, old friend, for I must be off; you have 
my best wishes in every way. I am going to take home the 
book for a day ; I should like to look over it ; Winny says you 
have other copies." 

" Take it if you like," growled Gerald, who heard the maid's 
step on the stairs, and knew he was going to be appealed to. 
** Now then 1 " he angrily saluted her with, as she came in. 



ROLAND YORKE'S SHOULDER TO THE WHEEL. 225 

" I've told you before you are not to bring up messages to nic 
after dusk. How dare you disobey me ? " 

" It's that gentleman that always will see you, sir," spoke th.e 
discomfited girl. 

" I am gone to bed," roared Gerald ; " be off and say so." 

And Hamish Channing, running lightly downstairs, heard 
the bolt slipped, as the servant came out of the room. That 
(herald had a good deal of this kind of worry, there was no 
doubt ; but he did not go the best way to work to prevent it. 

As soon as Hamish returned home, he sat down to his 
Nvriting-table, and set to work to examine Gerald's book. 
Gradually, as he turned page after page of the three volumes, 
a perplexed, dissatisfied look, mixed with much disappoint- 
ftlent, seated itself in his face. 

There had been no alterations made at all. All the objec- 
tionable elements were there, just as they had been in the 
manuscript. The book was, in fact, exactly what Hamish had 
found it — utterly worthless and terribly fast. It had not a 
chance of ultimate success. Not one reader in fifty, begin- 
ning the book, would be able to find sufficient patience to 
finish it. And Hamish was grievously vexed for Gerald's 
sake. 

Suddenly the reviews flashed into his mind ; their glowing 
descriptions, their subtle praise, their lavish promises. In 
spite of himself, of his deep feeling, his real vexation, he burst 
into a fit of laughter, at the thought of how the very innocent 
and helpless public would find itself taken in. 



CHAPTER XV. 

' ROLAND YORKE'S SHOULDER TO THE V HEEL. 

The v.-eeks went on. Roland Yorke was hard at work, carry- 
ing out his resolve of "putting his shoulder to the wheel.'' 
Vague ideas of getting into something good, by which a fortune 
might be made, floated through his brain in rose-coloured 
visions. What the something was to be he did not exactly' 
know; meanwhile, as a preliminary, he sought and obtained 
copying from Greatorex and Greatorex, to be done in spare 

Roland Yorkc. 15 



226 ROLAND VORkfi. 

hours at home. Of which fact Roland (unlike Mr. Brown) 
made no secret; he talked of it to the whole office; and Mr. 
Brown supplied him openly. 

It was an excessively hot evening, growing now towards 
twilight. Roland had carried his work to Mrs. Jones's room, 
not so much because his own parlour was rather close, as that 
he might obtain slight intervals of gossip. He had it to him- 
self, however, for ]\Irs. Jones was intent on household cares. 
The window looked on to a back-yard, in which the maid, who 
had come out, was hanging up a red table-cover to dry, that 
had evidently had something spilled on it. Of course Roland 
arrested his pen to watch the process. He was sitting in his 
shirt-sleeves, and had just complained aloud that it was hotter 
than Africa. 

"Who did that?" he called out through the open window. 
"You?" 

"Mr. Ollivera, sir. He upset some ink; and missis have 
been washing the place out in layers of cold water. She don't 
think it'll show." 

"What do you call layers?" 

"' Different lots, sir. About nineteen bowlfuls she swilled it 
through ; and me emptying of 'em at the sink, and droring off 
fresh water ready to her hand." 

To hang out the cover and pull straight the damaged part 
took a tolerably long time ; Roland, upon the old principle of 
welcoming any amusement as an accompaniment to work, con- 
tinued to look on and talk. Suddenly, he remembered his 
copying, and the young lady for whose sake he had undertaken 
the labour. 

" This is not sticking to it," he soliloquized. "And if I am 
to have her, I must work for her. JVon't I work, that's all ! 
I'll stick to it like a brick ! But this copying is poor stuff to 
get a fellow on. If I could only slip into something better ! " 

Considering that Mr. Roland Yorke's earnings the past week, 
with mistakes and other failures, had been one shilling and 
ninepence, and the previous week fifteenpence, it certainly did 
not appear as though copying would prove the high-road to 
fortune. He began casting about in his mind for other pro- 
jects, as he wrote. 

" If they'd give me a place under Government, it would be 
the very thing. But they don't. Old Dick Yorke's as selfish 
as a camel, and Carrick's hiding his head, goodness knows 



kOLAXD YORKE'S SHOULDER TO THE WHEEL. 227 

where. So I am thrown on my own resources. Bless us all ! 
when a fellow wants to get on in this world, he can't." 

At this juncture Roland came to the end of his paper. As 
it was a good opportunity for a slight respite, he laid down his 
pen, and exercised his thoughts. 

" There's those photographing places — lots of them springing 
up. You can't turn a corner but you come bang upon a fresh 
establishment. They can't require a fellow to have any previous 
knowledge. I wonder if any of them would take me on, and 
give me a couple "of guin eas a week, or so? Nothing to do there, 
but talk to the visitors, and take their faces. I should make a 
good hand at that. But, perhaps, she wouldn't like it ! She 
might object to marry a man of that sort. How difficult it is 
to get into anything ! I must think of the other plan." 

The other plan meant some nice place under Government 
To Roland that always seemed a sure harbour of refuge. The 
doubt was, how to get it ? 

"There's young Dick — A'incent, as he likes to be called 
now," soliloquized Roland. " I've never asked him to help 
me, but perhaps he might : he's not ill-natured where his 
pocket's not called in question. I'll go to him to-morrow j 
see if I don't. Now then, are you dry ? " 

This to the writing. Roland rose to get more paper, and 
then found that some that he ought to have brought home he 
had left at the office. 

"There's a bother! I wonder if I could get it by going 
round ? Of course the offices are closed, but I wouldn't mind 
asking Bede for the key if he's in the way." 

To think and to act were one with Roland. He put on hia 
coat, took his hat, and went hastening off on his expedition. 
Rather to his surprise, as he drew to the end of his walk, his 
eyes caught sight of Bede Greatorex standing in the shade 
opposite his house, apparently watching its lighted windows, 
from which sounds of talking and laughing issued forth. 
Roland conjectured that some gaiety was going on as usual in 
the house, from which its master w^ould escape. Over he went 
to him, without ceremony. 

"You don't like all that, sir?" he said, indicating the sup- 
posed company. 

" Not too much of it," replied Bede Greatorex, startled from 
his reverie by the unexpected address. " The fact is," he con- 
descended to explain to his curious clerk, perhaps as an excuse 



•22^ POLA't^B YdRKE. 

for standing there, "certain matters have been giving itle 
trouble of late. I was deep in thought." 

" Mrs. Bede Greatorex does love society ; she did as Louisa 
Joliffe," remarked Roland, meaning to be confidential. 

" I was not thinking of Mrs. Bede Greatorex, but of the loss 
in my office," spoke his master in a cold, proud tone of reproof. 

Crossing the road, as if declining further conversation, he 
went in. Roland saw he had offended him, and Avished his 
tongue had been cut out, putting down his thoughtless speech 
as usual to the sojourn at Port Natal. It might not be a pro- 
pitious moment for requesting the loan of the office keys, and 
Roland had the sense to see it. 

Who should come out of the touse at that moment, but 
Annabel Channing, attended by a servant. Work, keys, and 
all else, went out of Roland's head. He leaped across, seized 
her hands, and learnt that she had leave to spend the evening 
with Hamish and his wife. 

"77/ take care of you; 77/ see you safely there," cried 
Roland, impetuously. "You can go back, old Dalla." 

Old Dalla — a middle-aged, coloured woman who had brought 
Jane Greatorex from India and remained with the child as her 
attendant — made no more ado, but took him at his word. Glad 
to be spared the walk, she turned indoors at once. And before 
Annabel well knew what had occurred, she found herself whirled 
away by Roland in an opposite direction from the one she wished 
to take. It was only twilight yet. Roland had her securely on 
his arm, and began to pace the square. To tell the truth, he 
accepted the meeting as a special chance, for he had not once 
set eyes on the young lady, except formally in the presence 
of others, since that avowal of his a fortnight ago, in Mr. 
Greatorex's room. 

"Where are you going?" she asked, as soon as she could 
collect herself. "This is not the way to Hamish's." 

" This is the way to get a few words with you, Annabel ; 
one can't talk in the street, with its glare and its people. We 
are private enough here ; and I'll take you to Hamish's in a 
minute or two." 

In this impulsive fashion, he began telling her his plans and 
his dreams. That he had determined to make an income and 
a home for her ; as a beginning, until something better turned 
up, he was working all his spare time at copying deeds, " nearly 
night and day." One less unsophisticated than Roland Yorke, 



ROLAND YORKE'S SHOULDER TO THE WHEEL. 229 

might have suppressed a small item in the programme — that 
which related to Annabel's contributing to the fund herself, by 
obtaining pupils. Not he. He avowed it just as openly as his 
own intention of getting " something under Government." In 
short, Roland made the young lady a distinct offer. Or, rather, 
did not so much make the offer, as assume that it had been 
already made, and was, so far, settled. His arguments were 
sensible enough ; his plans looked really feasible ; his day- 
dreams tolerably bright. 

" But I have not yet said I would have you,"' spoke Annabel, 
all in a flutter, when she could get in a word. "You should 
not make so sure of things." 

" Not make sure of it ! Not have me ! " cried Roland, in 
indignant remonstrance. " Now, look here, Annabel — you 
ktiow you'll have me : it is all nonsense to make believe you 
won't. I don't suppose I've asked you in the proper way, or 
put things in the proper light ; but you ought to make allow- 
ance for a fellow who has had his manners knocked out of him 
at Port Natal. When the time arrives that I've a little house 
and a few chairs and tables, you'll come home to me; and 
I'll try and make you happy in it, and work for you till I 
drop ! I'here ! If I knew how to say it better, I would : and 
you need not despise a man for his way of putting it. Not 
have me ! I should like to know who you would have, if 
not me ! " 

Annabel Channing offered no further remonstrance. That 
she had contrived to fall in love with Roland Yorke, and would 
rather marry him than any one else in the world, she knew all 
too well. The home and the chairs and the tables in it, and 
working together to keep it going, wore a bright look to her 
heart, seen from a distance with youth's hopeful eyes. But she 
did not speak : and Roland, mistaking her silence, regarded it 
as a personal injury. 

" When I and Arthur are the dearest friends in the world ! 
He'd give you to me off-hand ; I know it. It is not kind of 
you, Annabel. We engaged ourselves to each other when you 
were a child and I was a tall donkey of fourteen, and if I've 
ever thought of a wife at all since I grew up, it was of you. I 
have done nothing but think of you since I came back. I wonder 
Y-Qw you'd feel, if I turned round and said, ' I don't know that I 
ehall have you.' Not jolly, I know." 

^' You should not bring up the nonsense we said when we 



230 ROLAND YORKE. 

were children. " I'm sure I could not have been more than 
seven. I remember the evening quite well : and you " 

" Now, just be open, Annabel, and say what it is your mind's 
harbouring against me," interrupted Roland, with deep feeling, 
" Is it that twenty-pound note of old Galloway's ? — or is it 
because I went knocking about at Port Natal ? " 

" Oh, Roland, how foolish you are ! As if I could think of 
either!" 

And there was something in the words and tone, in the 
pretty, shy, blushing face that reassured Roland. From that 
moment he looked upon matters as irrevocably settled, gave 
Annabel's hand a squeeze, and went on with his dreams of the 
future. 

"I've taken counsel with myself and with Mrs. J., and I 
don't think the pair uf us are likely to be led astray by 
romance, Annabel, for she is one of the strong-minded ones. 
She agrees with me that we might do well on three-hundred 
a year ; and, what with my work and your pupils, we could 
make that easily. But, I said to her, let's be on the safe side, 
and put it down at only two-hundred. Just to begin with, 
you know, Annabel. She said, 'Yes, we might do on that if 
we were both economical '• — and I'm sure if I've not learnt to 
be that I've learnt nothing. I would not risk the temptation 
of giving away — which I am afraid I'm prone to — for you 
should be cashier, Annabel ; just as Mrs. J. keeps my 
sovereign a week now. My goodness ! having no money 
in one's pocket is a safeguard. When I see things in the shop 
windows, whether it's eatables, or anything else, I remember 
my want of cash, and pass on. I stopped to look at a 
splendid diamond necklace yesterday in Regent Street, and 
thought how much I should like to get it for you ; but with 
empty pockets, where was the use of going in to inquire the 
price ? " 

" I do not care for diamonds," said Annabel. 

"You will have them some time, I hope, when my fortune's 
made. But about the two-hundred a year ? Mrs. J. said if we 
could be sure of making that regularly, she thought we might 
risk it ; only, she said there might be contingencies. It would 
not be Mrs. J. if she didn't croak." 

"Contingencies!" exclaimed Annabel, just as Roland had 
interrupted Mrs. Jones, and quite as unsuspicious as he. " Of 
what kind ? " 



ROLAND YORKE'S SHOULDER TO THE WHEEL. 231 

"Sickness, Mrs. J. mentioned, and — but I don't think I'll 
tell you that," considered Roland. " Let's say general con- 
tingencies. A fellow who has helped to land boats at Port 
Natal can't be expected to foresee everything. Would you be 
afraid to try the two-hundred a year?" 

" I fear mamma would for me. And Hamish." 

"Now, Annabel, don't bring up objections for other people. 
Time enough for that when they come down with them of 
their own accord. I intend to speak to Hamish to-night if I 
can get the opportunity. I don't want you to keep your 
promise a secret. You are a dear good girl, and the little 
home shall be ours before a twelvemonth's gone by, if I have 
to work my hands off." 

The little home ! Poor Roland ! If he could only have 
foreseen what twelve months would bring forth. 

Hamish Channing's book had come out under more favour- 
able auspices than Gerald's. The publisher, far from demand- 
ing money in advance for expenses, had made fair terms with 
him. Of course the result would depend on its success. When 
Hamish held the first copies in his hand, his whole being was 
radiant with silent enthusiasm ; the joy it was to bring had 
already set in. He sent a copy to his mother; and he sent 
one to Gerald Yorke, with a brief, kind note : in the simplicity 
of his heart, he supposed Gerald would rejoice, just as he at first 
had rejoiced for him. 

How good the book was, Hamish knew. His publisher 
knew. The world, Hamish thought, would soon know. He 
did not deceive himself, or exaggerate the worth and merits of 
the work : in point of fact, the praise meted out to Gerald's 
would have been really applicable to his. Never did Hamish, 
even in his moments of doubt and diffidence, cast a thought to 
the possibility that his book would be written down. Already 
he was thinking of beginning a second ; and his other work, 
the occasional papers, went on with a zest. 

He sat with his little girl, Nelly, on his knee, on this self- 
same evening that Roland had chanced upon Annabel. The 
child's blue eyes and bright face were turned to him as ^he 
chattered. He looked down fondly at her and stroked the 
pretty golden curls. 

" And when will the ship be home, papa ? " 

" Very soon now. It is nearing the por^" 



332 ROLAND YORlvE. 

" But when will it be quite, quite, quite home ? " 

" In a few days, I think, Nelly. I am not sure, but I ought 
to say it has come." 

" It was those books that came in the parcel last night?" 
said shrewd little Nelly. 

" Even so, darling." 

" Mamma has been reading them all day. I saw " — Nelly 
put her sweet face close up and dropped her voice — "I saw 
her crying at places of them." 

A soft faint crimson stole into Hamish Channing's cheeks ; 
his lips parted, his breath came quicker ; a sudden radiance 
illuminated his whole countenance. This child's whisper 
brought to his heart its first glad sense of that best return — 
appreciation. 

Visitors arrived to interrupt the quiet home happiness. Mis. 
Gerald Yorke and her three meek children. Winny looked 
distressed, and made a faint apology for bringing the little ones, 
but it was early to send them to bed. Close upon this, Roland 
and Annabel entered, and had the pleasure of being in time to 
hear Gerald's wife relate her grievances. 

They were of the usual description. No money, importunate 
creditors, Gerald unbearably cross. Annabel felt inclined to 
smile ; Roland was full of sympathy. Had the fortune that 
he was sure of making been already in his possession, he 
would have given a purse of gold to Winny, and carried off 
the three little girls to a raree-show there and then. The 
next best thing was to promise them the treat : which he did 
largely. 

"And me too, Roland," cried eager Nelly, dancing in and 
out amid the visitors in high glee, her curls never still. 

" You, of course," said Roland to the fair child w^ho had 
come to an anchor before him, flinging her arms upon his 
knees. " I wouldn't go anywhere without you, you know, Nelly. 
If I w^ere not engaged to somebody else, I would make you my 
little wife." 

" Who is the somebody else ? Kitty ? " 

" Not Kitty. She's too little." 

" Let it be me, then." 

Roland laughed, and looked across at Hamish. " If I don't 
ask you for her, I may for somebody else. So prepare." 

" I'm sure, I hope, Roland, if ever you do marry, that you 
>yon't be snappish with your wife and little girls, as your brother 



ROLAND YORKE'S SHOULDER TO THE WHEEL. 233 

is with us," interposed Winny, with a sob. " I think it is some- 
thing in Mr. Channing's book that has put him out to-day. 
As soon as it came this morning, he locked himself in the room 
alone with it, and never came out for hours ; but when he did 
come — oh, was he not in a temper ! He pushed Winifred 
and she fell on the carpet, and he shook Rosy till she cried ; 
and nobody knows for what. I'm sure they are like mice 
when he's there; they are too much afraid of him to be 
otherwise." 

It was well for Gerald Yorke that he committed no grave 
crimes ; for his wife, in her childish simplicity, her inability to 
bear in silence, would have betrayed them. She was right in 
her surmises — in fact, Winny, with all her silliness, had a great 
deal of discernment — that the cause of her husband's temper 
being worse than usual was Hamish Channing's book. Seizing 
upon it when it came, Gerald locked himself up with it, for- 
bidding any interruption in terms that might not be disobeyed. 
On the surface alone he could see that it was no sham book : 
Gerald's book had about twenty lines in a page, and the large 
type might have been read some yards off. This was different : 
closely printed, as if the writer were at no fault for matter. 
Gerald sat down. He was about to read this long-expected 
book, and devoutly hoped to find it worthless. 

But, if Gerald Yorke could not write, he could appreciate : 
and with the very first pages he saw what the work really was 
— rare, excellent, of unusual interest ; essentially the work of a 
good man, a scholar and a gentleman. 

As he read on and on, his brow grew dark and scowling, his 
Hps were angrily bitten. The book, properly noticed, would 
certainly set the world talking : and Gerald might experience 
some difficulty in writing it down. The fact did not tend to 
soften his generally ill-conditioned state of mind, and he flung 
the last volume on the table wath a harsh word. Even then, 
some of the damnatory terms he would use to extinguish the 
book were passing through his active brain. 

Emerging from his retreat towards evening in this genial 
mood, he made those about him suffer from it. Winny, tlie 
unenduring, might well wish to escape with her helpless 
children ! -Gerald departed ; to keep an engagement at a 
whitebait entertainment; and she came to Hamish Chan- 
ning's. 

How different were the two men ! Hamish Channing'^ 



23^ ROLAND YORKE. 

lieart had ached at the badness of Gerald's book, for Gerald's 
sake. Had he been a magician, he would have transformed 
its pages, with a stroke of his wand, to the brightest and best 
ever given to the world. Gerald Yorke assumed the anger of 
a fiend because Hamish's work was not bad ; and planned its 
ruin, 

" Man, vain man, dressed in a little brief authority, 
Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven 
As make the angels weep." 

If the world is not entirely made up of these two types of 
men, the bad and the good, the large and the narrow-hearted, 
the generous and the selfish, believe me that there are a great 
many of each in it. 

" It's growing worse and worse," sobbed Winny, continuing 
her grievances at the tea-table. " I don't mean Gerald now, 
but the want of money and the worry. I know we shall have 
to go into the workhouse ! " 

" Bless you, don't lose heart ! " cried Roland, with beaming 
looks, "/can never lose that again, after my ups and downs 
in Africa. I'll tell you of one, Mrs. Gerald. — Some more 
muffin, Kitty ? there it is. — I and another fellow had had no 
food to speak of for two days ; awfully low we were. We went 
into a store and they gave us some advertising bills to paste on 
the walls. Well, somehow I lost the fellow and the bills, for 
he had taken possession of them. I went rushing about every- 
where, looking for him — and that's not so pleasant when you're 
as hollow as an empty barrel — but he never turned up again. 
Whether he decamped with the bills, or whether he was put 
out of the way by a knock on the head, I don't know to this 
hour. Anyhow, I had to go back to the store the next day, 
and tell them about it. If you'll believe me, they accused me 
of swallowing the bills, or otherwise making away with them, 
and gave me into custody. A day and a night I lay in their 
detention cell, with nothing to eat, and the rats running over 
me. One can't be nice, over there, but I always had a horror 
of rats. Well, I got over that, Mrs. Gerald." 

"Did they try you for it?" questioned Mrs. Gerald, who 
had suspended her tears to listen, full of interest. 

"Good gracious, no! They let me out. But Lcould tell 
you of worse fixes than that. You take heart, I say ; and never 
trouble your thoughts about workhouses. Things are safe tp 
turn round when they seem at the worst," 



ROLAND YORKE'S SHOULDER TO THE WHEEL. 235 

Tea over, Mrs. Yorke said she must take her departure : the 
children were tired ; she scarcely knew how she should get 
them back again. Hamish had a cab called, and when it came 
lie went out and lifted the little ones into it. "Winny looked at 
it dubiously. 

" You won't tell Gerald that I said he was in a temper about 
your book, Mr. Channing ? " she said pleadingly, as she took 
her seat. 

" I won't tell Gerald tales of any sort," answered Hamish, 
with his gay smile. " Take heart, as Roland tells you to do, 
and look forward to better days both for you and your husband. 
Perhaps they are already dawning, though you cannot yet see 
the light." 

" Do you mean through Gerald's book ? " she asked half 
crossly. 

" Oh dear no. What I mean has nothing to do with 
Gerald's book. Who has the paper of cakes ? — Fredy. All 
right. Good night. The cab's paid, jSIrs. Yorke." 

Mrs. Y^orke burst into tears, leaned forward, and clasped 
Hamish's hand. The intimation had solved a difficulty run- 
ning through her mind. It was a great relief. 

" God bless you, Mr. Channing ! You are always kind." 

"Only trust in God," he whispered gravely. "Trust Him 
ever, and He will take care of you." 

The cab drove off, and Hamish turned away, to encounter 
Roland Yorke. That gentleman, making his opportunity, had 
followed Hamish ; and now poured into his ear the tale he had 
to tell about himself and Annabel. Hamish did not hear it 
altogether with the dignity that might be expected to attend an 
offer of marriage for one's sister. On the contrar}-, he burst 
into laughter in Roland's face. 

" Now be honest," cried Roland, deeply offended. " Is it 
me you despise, Tslr. Channing, or the prospect I have to offer 
her ? " 

"Neither," said Hamish, still laughing. "As to yourself, 
old fellow, if Annabel and the mother approved, I should not 
object. I never gave a heartier hand-shake to any man than 
I would to you as my brother-in-law. I like you better than I 
do the other brother-in-law, William Yorke ; and that's the truth." 

"Oh — him! you might easily do that," answered Roland, 
with his usual depreciation of the Reverend William Yorke's 
nicri^s. " Then why do you laugh at me ? " 



236 ROLAND YORKE. 

" I laughed at the idea of your making two-hundred a year 
at copying deeds." 

" I didn't say I should. You couldn't have been listening, 
Hamish. I do wish you wouldn't laugh so, as if you only 
made game of a fellow ! What I said was, that I was putting 
my shoulder to the wheel in earnest, and had begun with copy- 
ing, not to waste time. I have been thinking I'd try young 
Dick -Yorke." 

" Try him with what ? " 

" Why, to get me a post of some sort. I think he'll do it if 
he can. I'm sure it's not much I shall ask — only a couple ot 
hundred a year, or so. And if Annabel secures a good pupil 
or two, there'd be three-hundred a year to start with. You 
wouldn't mind her teaching a little, would you, Hamish, while 
I was waiting for the skies to rain gold ? " 

" Not I. That would be for her own consideration." 
" And w^hen we have the three-hundred a year in prospect, 
you'll talk to Mrs. Channing of Helstonleigh, for me, won't 
you ? " 

Hamish thought he might safely say Yes. The idea of 
Roland's " putting his shoulder to the wheel " sufficicndy to 
earn two-hundred a year, seemed to lie amongst the world's 
impossibilities. He could not help laughing, and it vexed 
Roland. 

" You think I can't work. You'll see. I'll go off to young 
Dick Yorke this very hour, and sound him. Nothing like taking 
time by the forelock. He is likely to be married, I hear." 
"Who is?" 

"Young Dick. They call him Vincent now, but before I 
went to Port Natal ' Dick ' was good enough for him. INIy 
father never spoke of them but as old Dick and young Dick. 
Not that we had anything to do with them : they held them- 
selves aloof from us. I never saw either of them but once, 
and that was when they came down to Helstonleigh to my 
father's funeral. He died in residence, you know, Hamish." 

Hamish nodded : he remembered all the circumstances per- 
fectly. Dr. Yorke's death had been unexpected until quite the 
last. Ailing for some time, he had yet been sufficiently well to 
enter on his close residence of twenty-one days as Prebendary 
of the cathedral, of which he was also sub-dean. The disease 
made such rapid progress that before the residence was out hg 
had e.xpired. 



ROLAND VORKE*S SHOULDER TO THE WHEEL. 33; 

" Old Dick made some promises to George that day, saying 
he'd get him on : because George was the eldest, I suppose ; ■ 
he took little notice of the rest of us," resumed Roland. " It 
was after we came in from the funeral. But he never did an 
earthly thing for him, Hamish — as poor George could tell you, 
if he were alive. My father always said his brother Dick was 
selfish." 

"You may find young Dick the same," said Hamish. 

"So I should if it were his pocket I wanted to touch. But 
it's not, you know. And now I'll be off to him. I had in- 
tended to spend the evening at my copying, but I left the 
paper in the office, and there was likely to be a difficulty about 
getting it. I'll make up for it to-morrow night. I shall be 
back in time to tell you of my success, and to help you take 
Annabel home." 

Roland's way of taking time by the forelock was to dash 
through the streets, no matter what impediments he might 
overthrow in his way, and into the fashionable club-house fre- 
quented by Vincent Yorke, who dined there quite as often as 
he dined at his father's house in Portland Place. Roland was 
in luck, and met him coming out. 

" I say, Vincent, do stay and hear me for a minute or two. 
It is something of consequence." 

Vincent Yorke, not altogether approving this familiar saluta- 
tion from Roland, although fate had made them cousins, did 
not quite see his way to refusing the request. As Roland had 
said, young Dick was sufficiently good-natured Avhere his 
pocket was not taxed. He led the way to a corner of a room 
where they could talk in private, sat down, and offered Roland 
a chair. 

It was declined. Roland was a great deal too excited and 
too eager to sit down. He poured out his wants and hopes. 
He wished to work honestly for just bread and cheese, and to 
get his own living, and be beholden to nobody : would Dick 
help him to a place ? He did not mind how hard he worked ; 
would live on potatoes and a pint of beer a day ; so that he 
might just get on a little, and make the sum of two-hundred a 
year : or one-hundred to begin with. 

The word " Dick " slipped out inadvertently in Roland's 
heat. Not a man living so little capable, as he, of remember- 
ing conventionalities when thus excited. Vincent Yorke, 
defecting the earnest purpose, the single-mindedness of the 



238 ROLANt) YORlCE. 

applicant, could only stare and laugh, and excuse mistakes 
under the circumstances. The very boldness of the request, 
preferred straightforwardly and without the slightest reticence, 
told on him favourably, because it was so opposite to the 
diplomacy that most men would have brought to bear on such 
an application. Favourably only, in so far as that he did not 
meet it with a haughty, off-hand repulse, but condescended to 
answer civilly. 

" Such things are not in my line," he said ; and, face to face 
with the realistic Port-Natal traveller, he for once put aside 
his beloved fashionable attribute, the mincing lisp. " I don't 
go in for politics ; never did go in for them ; and Government 
places are not likely to come in my way. You should have 
applied to Sir Richard. He knows one or two of the Cabinet 
Ministers." 

" I did apply to him once," replied Roland, " and he sent 
me off with a flea in my ear. I said then, I would never ask 
him for any thing again, though it were to keep me from 
starving." 

Vincent Yorke smiled. " Look here," said he ; " you take 
him in his genial moods. Go up to him now; he wdll just 
have dined. If anything can be got out of him, that's the 
time for it." 

Mr. Vincent Yorke hit upon this quite as much to get rid of 
Roland, as with any belief in its efficacy. In the main what he 
said was true — Sir Richard's after-dinner moods were his 
genial ones ; but that Roland had not the ghost of a chance of 
being helped, he very well knew. That unsophisticated travel- 
ler, however, took it all in. 

" I'll run up at once," he said. " I'm much obliged to 
you, Vincent. I say, are you not soon going to be married ? 
I heard so." 

*' Eh — yes," replied Vincent, frigidly, relapsing into himself 
and the fine gentleman. 

" I wish you the best of luck," returned Roland, shaking the 
somewhat unwilling hand with a grip that he might have 
learned at Port Natal. " And I hope she'll make you as good 
a wife as I know somebody else will make me. Good night, 
Vincent. I'm off." 

Vincent nodded. It struck him that, with all his draw- 
backs and deficiencies, Roland was rather a nice young fellow. 

Outside the club door stood a hansom. Roland, in his 



ROLAND YORKE'S SHOULDER TO THE WHEEL. l:jd, 

haste and eagerness, was only kept from bolting into it by the 
slight accident of having no change in his pocket to pay the 
fare. He did not lose much. The rate at which he tore up 
Regent Street might have kept pace with most cabs ; and the 
knock and ring he gave at Sir Richard's door must surely have 
caused the establishment to think that it announced the arrival 
of a fire-engine. 

The door was flung open on the instant, as if to an expected 
visitor. But that Roland was not the one waited for, was 
proved by the surprise of the servant. He arrested the further 
• entrance. 

" You are not the doctor ! " 

" Doctor ! " said Roland, " I am no doctor. Let me pass if 
you please. I am Mr. Roland Yorke." 

" I beg your pardon, sir," said the man, recognizing the 
name as one borne by a nephew of the house. " You can go 
up, sir, of course, if you please, but my master is just taken ill. 
He has had a stroke." 

*' Bless me ! " cried Roland, in concern. " A bad one ? " 

" I'm afraid it is death, sir," whispered the man. " ^Ye left 
him at his wine after dinner, all comfortable ; and when we 
went in a few minutes ago, there he was, drawn together so 
that you couldn't know him, and no breath in his body that 
we could hear. The nearest doctor's coming, and James is 
running to a dozen likely places to see if he can find Mr. 
Yincent." 

" I'll go for him ; I know where he is," cried Roland. And 
without further reflection he hailed another hansom that hap- 
pened to be passing, jumped into it, and ordered it to drive to 
the club-house. Vincent was only then coming down the steps. 
He took Roland's place, and galloped home. 

"I hope he'll be in time," thought Roland. "Poor old 
Dick ! " 

He was not in time. And the next morning London awoke 
to the news of Sir Richard Yorke's sudden death from an 
attack of apoplexy. And his son, the third baronet, had 
succeeded to the family estates and honours as Sir Vincent 
Yorke. 



l4o ROLAND YORKE. 

CHAPTER XVI. 

A LITTLE MORE LIGHT. 

Something fresh, though not very much, had lurned up, rc- 
latmg to the case of the late Mr. OUivera. That it should do so 
after the lapse of so many years — or, rather, that it should not 
have done so before — was rather remarkable. But as it bears^ 
very little upon the history in its present stage, it may be dis- 
missed in a chapter. 
• \Vhen John OUivera departed on the circuit which was 
destined to bring him his death, a young man of the name of 
Willett accompanied the bar. He had been " called," but in 
point of fact only went as clerk to one of the leading counsel. 
There are barristers and barristers ; just as there are young 
men and young men. Mr. Charles Willett had been a great 
trouble to his fam.ily ; and one of his elder brothers, Edmund, 
who was home from India on a temporary sojourn to recruit 
his health, had taken up the cause against him rather sharply : 
inducing a quarrel and lasting ill-feeling between them. 

An intimacy had sprung up between Edmund Willett and 
John OUivera, and they had become close friends. They took 
a supposed final leave of each other when Mr. OUivera departed 
on his circuit, for Mr. Willett was on the point of returning to 
India. His health had not improved, but he was obliged to 
go back. He was in a merchant's house in Calcutta : and the 
])robabilities certainly were that he would not live to come 
home again. However, contrary to his own and general ex- 
pectations, as is sometimes the case, the result proved that 
every one's opinion was mistaken. He not only did not die, 
but he grew better, and finally recovered : and he had now 
come to England on business matters. The details attendant 
on John OUivera's death had never reached him, either through 
letters or newspapers, and he became acquainted with them for 
the first time in an interview with the Reverend Mr. OUivera. 
When the unfinished letter was mentioned, and the fact that 
they had never been able to trace the smallest clue as to whom 
it was intended for, Mr. Willett at once said that it must have 
been intended for himself. He had charged John OUivera 



A LITTLE MORE LIGHT. 241 

(rather against the will of the latter) to carry out, if possible, an 
arrangement with Charles Willett upon a certain unpleasant 
matter which had only recently come to the knowledge of his 
family, and to get that young man's written promise to arrest 
himself in, at least, one of his downward courses towards ruin. 
The letter to Mr. Ollivera, urging the request, was written and 
posted in London on the Saturday. ]\Ir. Ollivera, receiving it 
on Sunday morning at Helstonleigh, would no doubt see Charles 
Willett in the course of Monday. That this was the "disagree- 
able commission " he had spoken of to Mr. Kene, as having 
been entrusted to him, and which he had left the Court at half- 
past three o'clock to enter upon, there could be no doubt 
about. Mr. Willett had expected an answer from him on 
Tuesday morning — it was the last day of his stay in London, 
for he would take his departure by the Dover mail in the 
evening — but the answer never came. That Mr. Ollivera was 
writing the letter for the nine-o'clock post from Helstonleigh, 
and that the words, " should I never see you again," referred 
solely to Mr. Willett's precarious health, and to the belief that 
he would not live to return from India, also appeared indis- 
putable. If this were so, why then, the first part of the letter, 
at any rate, was the work of a perfectly sane man, and no more 
pointed at suicide than it did at any other crime. The clerg}-- 
man and Mr. Willett, arriving at this most natural conclusion, 
sat and looked at each other for a few moments in painful 
silence. That unexplained and apparently inexplicable letter 
had been the sole stumbling-block in Henry William Ollivera's 
otherwise perfect belief in his brother's innocence. 

But, to leave no shadow of uncertainty in the matter, Charles 
Willett was sought out. When found (with slippers down at 
he^l, a short pipe in his mouth, and a pewter pot at his elbow-), 
he avowed, without the smallest reticence, that John Ollivera's 
appointment for half-past three that long-past Monday after- 
noon in Helstonleigh, Aad been with him ; and that, in answer 
to Mr. Ollivera's interference in his affairs, he had desired him 
to mind his own business and to send word to his brother to 
do the same. 

This left no doubt whatever on the clergyman's mind that 
the unfinished letter had been as sensible and ordinary a letter 
as any man could sit down to pen, and that the blotted words 
were added to it by a different hand — the hand of the mur- 
derer. 

Roland Yorke. 16 



242 ROLAND YORKE. 

In the full flush of his newly-acquired information, he went 
straight to the house of Mr. Greatorex, to pour the story into 
his uncle's ear. It happened to be the very day alluded to in 
the last chapter — in the evening of which you had the pleasure 
of seeing Mr. Roland Yorke industriously putting his shoulder 
to the wheel, after the office hours were over. 

Mr. Greatorex had been slightly discomposed that day in 
regard to business matters. It seemed to him that something 
or other was constantly arising to annoy the firm. Their con- 
nection was increasing, requiring the unwearied energies of its 
three heads more fully than it had ever done; whereas one 
of those heads was less efficient than he used to be — Bede 
Greatorex. Mr. Greatorex, a remarkably capable man, always 
had more hard, untiring work in him than Bede, and he had 
it still. With his mother's warm Spanish blood, Bede had 
inherited the smallest amount of constitutional indolence. As 
he had inherited (so ran suspicion), the disease which had 
proved fatal to her. 

" I cannot reproach him as I would," thought Mr. Greatorex, 
throwing himself into a chair in his room, when he had quitted 
the office for the day, urged almost to despair at this fresh 
negligence, or whatever it was, that had been brought home 
to them, and which had been traced to some forgetfulness of 
Bede's. " With that wan, weary look in his face, just the look 
that his mother's wore when her illness was coming on, it is 
impossible to blow him up as harshly as I should Frank. He 
must be very ill, or he could not look as he does. He may 
even already be beyond hope. It was only when she was past 
hope that she suddenly failed in her round of duties and broke 
down. And he has one sorrow that his mother had not — 
trouble of mind, with that wife of his." 

It was at this juncture that Mr. Greatorex was interrupted 
by Henry William Ollivera. The clergyman, standing so that 
the rays of the evening sun, falling across his face, lighted up 
its pallor and its suppressed eagerness, imparted the tale that 
he had come to tell : the discovery that he and Edmund Willett 
had made that day. 

It a little excited Mr. Greatorex. Truth to say, he had 
always looked upon that unfinished letter as an almost certain 
proof that his nephew's death had been in accordance with the 
verdict of the jury. To him, as well as to the dead man's 
brother, the failure to discover any cause for its having been 



A LITTLE MORE LIGHT. ^ 

written, or any person for whom it could have been intended, 
had remained the great difficulty which could not be solved or 
explained away. 

In this, the first moment of disclosure, it seemed to him 
a great discovery. We all know how exaggerated a view we 
sometimes take of matters that are unexpectedly presented to 
us. Mr. Greatorex went forth, calling for his son Bede. Bede 
came down, in return to the call, dressed for dinner. As Bede 
entered, his eye fell on his cousin Henry — or William, as Mr. 
Greatorex generally called him — whose usually placid coun- 
tenance was changed by the hectic on its wasted cheeks. Bede 
saw that something was about to be disclosed, and wished him- 
self away again. For some time past he had had little patience 
with the fancies and crotchets of Henry Ollivera. 

It was Mr. Greatorex who disclosed what there was to tell, 
Bede received it ungraciously: that is in a spirit of disbelief; 
almost of mockery. Henry Ollivera was accustomed to these 
moods of his. The clergyman did not resent it openly. He 
smiply stood with his deep eyes fixed watchingly on Bede's 
face, as if the steady gaze, the studied silence, carried their 
own reproof with them. 

" I believe, if some wight came down from the moon, with 
the most absurd fable ever invented, you would put faith in it," 
said Bede, turning sharply on Mr, Ollivera. 

"Edmund Willett has not come from the moon," quietly 
spoke the clergyman. 

"But Charles Willett — lost man! — is no better than a lunatic 
in his drinking fits," retorted Bede. 

•' At any rate, he was neither a lunatic nor drunk to-day." 

" His story does not hold water," pursued Bede. " Is it 
likely — is it possible, I might almost say — that had he been the 
man with whom the appointment was held that afternoon, he 
would have kept silent until now? — when so much stir and 
inquiry were made at the time?" 

"Edmund Willett says it is exactly the line of conduct his 
brother might have been expected to pursue," said Mr. Ollivera. 
" He was always of singular temper — morose, uncommunica- 
tive. That what Charles Willett states is perfectly true, I am 
as sure of as I am that I stand here. You had better see him 
yourself, Bede." 

" To what end ? " 

*' That you also may be convinced.'' 



244 ROLAND YORKE. 

" And if I were convinced?" questioned Bede, after a pause. 
" What then ? " 

" I think the inquiry should be reopened," said Mr. Ollivera, 
addressing his uncle. "When I have spoken of pursuing it 
before, I was always met, both by Butterby and others, with 
the argument that this letter was in my way. To tell the truth, 
I always found it a little so myself. Always until this day." 

" Don't bring up Butterby as an authority, William," inter- 
posed Mr. Greatorex. " If Butterby cannot conduct other 
cases better than he has conducted that concerning our lost 
cheque, I wouldn't give a fig for him and his opinions." 

For the stealer of the cheque remained undiscovered ; and 
the house of Greatorex and Greatorex, one of them always 
excepted, felt very sore upon the point, and showed it. 

"William is right, Bede. The discovery removes a world of 
uncertainty and doubt. And if, by ventilating the unhappy 
affair again, we can unfold the mystery that attaches to it, and 
so clear John's name and memory, it ought to be done." 

" But what can be tried, or done, sir, more than has been 
done already ? " asked Bede, in a tone of reasoning. 

" I don't know. Something may be done. Of one thing I 
have felt convinced all along — that if John's life was taken by 
man's wicked hand. Heaven will in time bring it to light. The 
old saying, that ' >.Iurder will out,' is a very sure one." 

" I do not think it has proved so in every instance," returned 
Bede, dreamily carrying his recollection backwards. " Some 
cases have always remained undiscovered." 

" Yes, to the world," acquiesced Mr. Greatorex. " But there 
lies a belief in my mind that no man — or woman either — ever 
committed wilful murder, but some one or other suspected him 
in their secret heart, and saw him in all his miserable sin." 

" Don't bring woman's name in, father. I never like to hear 
it coupled with murder." 

Bede spoke in the somewhat fractious tone he now often 
used. That it was only the natural outlet of some inward or 
mental pain none could doubt. Mr. Greatorex put it down 
chiefly to bodily suffering. 

" Women have done worse deeds than men," was the elder 
man's answer. And Mr. Ollivera took a step forward. 

" Whether man or woman took my dear brother's life — and 
then suffered the slur to rest on his own innocent self — suffered 
him to be buried as a dog — suffered his nearest relatives to 



A LITTLE MORE LIGHT. 245 

think of him as of one who had forfeited Heaven's mercy, I 
know not," said the clergyman. " But from this time forward, 
I vow never to slacken heart, or hand, or energy, until I shall 
have brought the truth to light. The way was long and dark, 
and seemed hopeless ; it might be that I lost patience and 
grew weary ; and this discovery has possibly arisen to reprove 
and spur me on." 

" But what can you do in it?" again asked Bede. 

" Whatever I do in it, I shall not come to you to help me, 
Bede," was the reply. " It appears to me — and I have told 
you so before — that you would rather the cloud remained oa 
my brother's name than see it lifted. What had he done to 
you in life that you should so requite him ? " 

"Heaven knows my heart and wish would clear him," spoke 
Bede, with an earnestness that approached to agitation. "But 
if I am unable to do it — if I cannot see how it may be done — 
what would you ? " 

" You have invariably thrown cold water upon every effort 
of mine. My most earnest purposes you have all but 
ridiculed." 

" No, Henry. I have been sorry, vexed if you will, at what 
I thought your mistaken views. Reiteration of a subject leads 
to weariness. If I was unable to accept any other solution 
than the one arrived at by the coroner and jury, it was not my 
fault. As to John — if by sacrificing niy own life, at any 
moment since I saw him lying dead, I could have restored his, 
I would willingly have offered it up." 

" I beg your pardon, Bede ; I spoke hastily," said the man 
of peace. " Of course I had no right to be vexed that you and 
others cannot see with my eyes. But, rely upon it, the state- 
ment now made by Charles Willett is a true one." 

"Perhaps it may be," acknowledged Bede. 

" William," interrupted i\Ir. Greatorex, lifting his head after 
a pause, and sinking his voice to a whisper. " It could not be 
that — that — Charles "Willett — was the one to steal in, and harm 
him ? " 

An eager light flashed into the dark eyes of Bede Greatorex, 
as he turned them on his cousin. If it did not express belief 
in the possibility of the suggestion, at least it betrayed that the 
idea stirred him. 

"No," said Mr. Ollivera. "No, no. Charles Willett he- 
not behaved straightforwardly over it, but he is calm and open 



246 ROLAND YORKE. 

enough now. He says he has made it a rule for many years 
never to interfere voluntarily in the remotest degree with other 
people's business; and therefore he did not mention this 
until questioned to-day. Had he never been questioned, he 
declares that he would never have spoken. I cannot under- 
stand such a man ; it seems to me a positive sin not to have 
disclosed these facts at the time ; but I am sure that he tells 
the whole truth now. And now I must wish you good evening, 
for I have an engagement." 

Bede went down the passage with his cousin, and was turn- 
ing to ascend the staircase. His father called him. 

"What is it?" asked Bede, advancing. 

" What is it ?— why, I want to talk to you about this." 

" Another time, father. Dinner's waiting." 

"You would go to dinner if the house were falling," spoke 
Mr. Greatorex, in his vexation, 

" Will you not come, sir?" 

"No. I don't want dinner, I sl.all have tea here and 
something with it. Things are daily happening to worry me, 
Bede ; if they don't you." 

Bede went away, sighing heavily. Perhaps he was more 
worried, and had greater cause for it too, than his father ; but 
he did not allow more of it to be seen than he could help. 
Some three or four guests were at his table this evening ; guests 
bidden by Mrs. Bede, preparatory to going to the opera to- 
gether. It is more than probable that the suspicion of this 
assembly kept Mr. Greatorex away. 

The dinner was elaborate as usual. Bede took nothing. 
He sat opposite to his wife and talked with the company, and 
took course after course as it was placed before him ; only to 
toy with it for a few moments, and send it away untasted. 
Why did his wife for ever gather around her this whirl of 
gaiety? — he almost asked it aloud with a groan. Did she 
want to get rid of care ? as, Heaven knew, he did. An observer, 
able to dive into Bede's heart, might rather have asked, " Nay, 
why did he suffer her to gather it ? " 

The heat of the room oppressed him ; the courses were 
numerous, but he sat on — on, until passiveness became in- 
tolerable. When lights came in, he rose abruptly, went to 
the furthermost window, and threw it wide. Twilight encom- 
passed the earth with ^her soft folds ; the day's garishness was 
over for at least some welcome hours. A woman was singing 



A LITTLE MORE LIGHT. 247 

in the street below, her barefooted children standing round her 
with the shrinking air peculiar to such a group, and she turned 
up a miserable, sickly, famine-stricken face to Bede, in piteous, 
mute appeal. It was not ineffectual. Whatever his own cares 
and illness might be, he at least could feel for others. Just as 
he flung the woman a shilling, his wife came to him and spoke 
in a whisper, with an unpleasant taunt in it. 

" Have you a headache, to-night, as usual ? " 

"Headache and heartache, both, Louisa." 

"I should suppose so, by your leaving the table. You 
might have apologized." 

"And you might give the house a litde rest. How far I 
am from wishing to complain or interfere unnecessarily, you 
must know, Louisa; but I declare that this incessant strain 
will drive me crazy. It is telling upon my nerves. And it is 
telling in a different way upon my father." 

" I shall entertain people every day, when I am not engaged 
out myself," said Mrs. Bede Greatorex. "Take a house for 
me in Hyde Park, or Belgravia ; or I would not mind Portland 
Place; and then we should not annoy Mr. Greatorex. As 
long as you are obstinate in the one case, I shall be in the 
other." 

Bede seized her hand ; partly in anger, partly — as it seemed 
—in tenderness : and drew her nearer to him, that she might 
hear his impressive whisper. 

"I am not sure but your wish, that we should leave the 
house, will be gratified — though not in the manner you expect. 
My father's patience is being sorely tried. He is the owner of 
the house; and at any moment may say to us, 'Go out of it.' 
Louisa, I have thought of mentioning this to you for some little 
time past ; but the subject is not a pleasant one." 

"I wish he would say it." 

" But don't you see the alternative ? You are thinking of a 
West-End mansion. My income would not allow me to take a 
house half so good as this one. That's the simple truth, 
Louisa." 

She flung his hand from her with a defiant laugh, as she pre- 
pared to rejoin the guests. " You might not, but /would." 

And Bede knew that to run him helplessly into debt wouUl 
have been amusement, rather than otherwise, to his wife. 

Coffee came in at once, and Bede took the opportunity tc 
escape. There was no formal after-dinner sitting this evening, 



248 ROLAND YORKE. 

or withdrawing of the ladies. As he passed down the corridor, 
Miss Channing was standing at the door of the study. He 
inquired in a kindly tone if she wanted anything. 

" I am waiting to see Mrs. Greatorex — to ask her if I may go 
for an hour to my brother's," answered Annabel. " Old Dalla 
would escort me." 

" Go, by all means, if you wish it," he said. " Why did you 
think it necessary to ask ? Do make yourself at home with us, 
Miss Channing, and be as happy as you can be." 

Annabel thanked him, and he went downstairs, little sup- 
posing how impossible happiness was for her, exposed as she 
was to all the whims of his capricious wife. Halting at the door 
for a moment he wandered across the street, and stood in the 
shade, mechanically listening to the woman's ballad-singing, 
wafted faintly from the distance, just as he mechanically looked 
up at his own lighted windows, and -heard the gay laughter that 
now and again came forth from them. 

" I never ought to have married her," said the voice of 
conscience, breathing its secrets from the depths of his heart. 
" Every law, human and divine, should have warned me against 
it. I was infatuated to blindness : nay, not to blindness ; I 
cannot plead that : but to folly. It w^as wrong : it was horribly 
sinful : and Heaven is justly punishing me. The fault was 
mine : I might have kept aloof from her after that miserably 
eventful night. I ought to have done so ; to have held her at 
more than arm's distance for evermore. Ought ! — lives there 
another man on the face of the earth, I wonder, who would not 
have done so ? The fault of our union was wholly mine, not 
hers ; and so, whatsoever trials she brings on me I will bear, 
patiently, as I best may. / sought her. She would never have 
dared to seek me, after that night and the discovery I made 
the following day in poor John's room : and the complications 
arising from our marriage, / have to answer for. I am nearly 
tired of the inward warfare ; three years of it ! Three years 
and more, since I committed the mad act of tying myself to 
her for life : for better or for worse : and it has been nothing 
for me but one prolonged scene of repentance. We are 
wearing a mask to each other : God grant that I may go to 
my grave without being forced to lift it ! For her sake ; for her 
sake ! " 

He paused to raise his hat from his brow and wipe the dew 
that had gathered there. And then he took a step forward 



A LITTLE MORE LIGHT. 249 

and a step backward in the shade. But he could not drive 
away, even for a moment, the care ever eating into his heart, 
or turn his vision from the shadow that always seemed 
threatening in the distance. 

" Of all the wild infatuation that ever possessed the heart of 
man for woman, surely mine for Louisa Joliffe was the worst ! 
Did Satan lead me on ? It must have been so. ' Be sure your 
sin will find you out.' Since that fatal moment when I stood 
at the altar with her, those ominous words have never, I think, 
been quite absent from my memory. Every hour of my life, 
every moment of the day and night as they pass, does my sin 
find me. Knowing what I did know, could I not have been 
content to let her go her own way, while I went mine ? Heaven 
help me ! for I love her yet, as man rarely has loved. And 
when my father, or any other, casts a reflection on her, it is 
worse to me than a dagger's thrust. As long as I may, I will 
shield her from " 

It was at this moment that the soliloquy, so pregnant with 
weighty if vague revelation, was broken in upon by Mr. Roland 
Yorke. Little guessed careless Roland what painful regrets 
he had temporarily interrupted. Bede, as has been seen, 
went indoors, and Roland departed with Miss Channing 
on her evening visit, dismissing Dalla without the slightest 
ceremony. 

The carriage, for Mrs. Greatorex and her friends, drove up. 
Bede, somewhat neglectful of the others, came out with his 
wife, and placed her in it. 

" Are you not coming with us ? " she bent forward to whisper, 
seeing him about to close the door. 

"Not to-night.. I have some work to do." 

" Sulky as usual, Bede? " 

His lips parted to retort, but he closed them, and endured 
meekly. Sulky to her he had never been, and she knew it. 
The carriage moved away with her : and Bede lifted his hat ; 
with a careless smile, meant to deceive the world. 

Whether he had work to do, or not, he did not get to it. 
Sauntering from the door, away and away, hardly knowing and 
not heeding whither, he found himself presently in the Strand, 
and thence at the river-side. There he paced backwards and 
forwards with unequal steps, his mind lost in many things, but 
more especially in the communication made that day by Henry 
OUivera. 



250 ROLAND YORKE. 

The unfinished letter connected with that long-past history, 
and the appointment spoken of by Mr. Kene, that John Ollivera 
went out of court to keep, had been as great a puzzle to Bede 
Greatorex as it was to other people. Upon reflection, he now 
thought that the present solution of the affair was the true one. 
Would it lead to further discovery ? Very fervently he hoped 
that it would not. There were grave reasons, as none knew 
better than Bede, for keeping all further discovery in the back- 
ground ; for, if it came, it would bring confusion, dismay, and 
misery, upon innocent as well as guilty heads. 

The river, flowing in its course, was silent and slow in the 
summer's night. A broad line of light illumined the sky in the 
west where the sultry sun had gone down : and as Bede looked 
towards it and thought of the All-seeing Eye that lay beyond 
that light, he felt how fruitless it was for him to plot and plan, 
and to say this shall be or this shall not be. The course of 
the future rested in the hands of one Divine Ruler, and his 
own poor, short-sighted will was powerless to alter the Divine 
decrees. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

LAID WITH HIS FOREFATHERS. 



So great a man as Sir Richard Yorke must of course be 
honoured with a great funeral. He had died on Thursday, 
and the interment was fixed for the following Friday week. 
Taking the heat of the weather and sundry other trifles into 
consideration, this was a little longer than need have been. 
Sir Vincent, his new dignity as head of the Yorke family lying 
upon him with weighty self-importance, was determined (Hke 
Jonas Chuzzlewit of wide fame) that the public should see he 
did not grudge his late father any honour that it was in his power 
to accord to him in the shape of plumes and mutes and coaches 
and show. So that Portland Place was as a gala that day, and 
windows and pavements were filled with gazers. 

The Rev. William Yorke, Minor Canon of Helstonleigh 
Cathedral, Chaplain of Hazledon, and Rector of Coombe Lee, 
was bidden to it. He was not very closely related to the 



LAID WITH HIS FOREFATHERS. 251 

deceased (his father and Sir Richard had been second cousins), 
but he was undoubtedly a rising man in the Church, and Sir 
Vincent thought well to remember the connection. The 
clergyman stood in the relationship of brother-in-law to 
Hamish Channing ; and it was at Hamish's house that he 
stayed during the two days of his brief sojourn in town. 

Another, honoured with an invitation, was Gerald Yorke. 
Roland was not of a particularly exacting disposition, but he 
did think that he, the eldest, ought not to have been passed 
over for his younger brother. Oughts don't go for much, how- 
ever, in some things, as Roland knew very well. Gerald 
belonged to the great world : had fashionable chambers, 
fashionable friends, fashionable attire, and a fashionable drawl ; 
his embarrassments were nothing to Sir Vincent ; in fact, they 
might be said to be fashionable also : and so Gerald, the con- 
sequential, was bidden to a seat in a mourning-coach, with 
feathers nodding on the heads of the four horses. 

Roland was ignored. Not more entirely so than if Sir 
Vincent had never heard of him. A lawyer's clerk, enjoying 
a pound a week, who took copying home to do at twopence a 
page, and avowed that he had just been nearly on the point of 
selling hot-pies in the streets, was clearly not an individual to 
come into contact with a deceased baronet, even though it were 
only to follow him to the tomb of his fathers. But, though 
Roland was not there, his master, INIr. Greatorex, was. And 
Mr. Greatorex, as solicitor and confidential man-of-business to 
the late Sir Richard, occupied no unimportant post in the 
procession. 

It was late in the afternoon ; and the mortal remains, bereft 
of all their attendant pomp and plumes, had been left in their 
resting-place, when a mourning-coach drew up to Mr. Chan- 
ning's, out of which stepped William and Gerald Yorke, 
Roland, happening to be there, watched the descent from the 
drawing-room window side by side with Nelly Channing, and 
it may be questioned which of the two looked on with the 
more unsophisticated interest. Mr. Greatorex had not been 
quite so unmindful of Roland's claims to consideration as Sir 
Vincent, and had told him he might take holiday on the day 
of his uncle's funeral, by remaining away from the office. 

Roland obeyed one portion of it Jiterally : he took holiday. 
It never occurred to Roland that he might turn the day to 
profit, by putting his shoulder to the wheel, and do some 



252 ROLAND YORKE. 

copyin;? ; holiday was holiday, and he accepted it in that light. 
Rigged out in a handsome new mourning suit (made in haste 
by Lord Carrick's tailor), Roland spent the fore-part of the day 
in sight-seeing. As many show-places as could be gone into 
for nothing, or next to nothing, he went to ; beginning with 
Madame Tussaud's wax-work, for which some one gave him 
an admission, and ending with a live giantess down in White- 
chapel. Late in the afternoon, and a little tired, he arrived 
at Hamish Channing's, and was rewarded by meeting Annabel. 
Mrs. Bede Greatorex (gracious that day) had given Miss 
Channing permission to spend the evening there to meet her 
sister's husband, the Rev. William Yorke. Hamish, just in 
from his office, sat with them. Nelly Channing shared with 
Roland the delight of the descent from the coach. Its four 
black horses and their waving plumes, struck the child's mind 
with a sensation of awe that almost overpowered her admira- 
tion. She w^ore a white frock with a black sash, and her sleeves 
were tied up with black ribbons. Mrs. Channing, herself in 
black silk, possessed a large sense of the fitness of things, and 
thought it well to put the child into these ribbons to-day, when 
two of the mourners would return there from the funeral. 

William and Gerald Yorke came upstairs, and entered the 
drawing-room. It was the first time the clergyman and Roland 
had met for many years. As may have been gathered by the 
reader, Roland did not hold his cousin in any particular admi- 
ration, but he knew good manners (as he would himself have 
phrased it) better than to show aught but civility now. In 
fact, Roland's resentment was very much like that of a great 
many more of us — more talk than reality. They shook hands, 
and for a few moments were absorbed in past interests. What- 
ever Roland's old prejudices might have been, he could not 
deny that William Yorke was good-looking as of yore ; a tall, 
slender, handsome man of four-and-thirty now, bearing about 
him the stamp of success. His fresh countenance was genial 
and kind, in spite of its touch of the noted Yorke pride. 

That pride, or perhaps a consciousness of his own supe- 
riority, for William Yorke was a good man, and thought well 
of himself for it, prevented his being so frankly cordial with 
Roland as he might have been. Roland's many faults in the 
old days (as the clergyman had deemed them), and the one 
great fault which had brought humiliation to him in two ways, 
were very present to his mind to-night. Slighting remarks 



LAID WITH HIS FOREFATHERS. 253 

made by Gerald on his brother during the day, caused Mr. 
Yorke to regard Roland as no better than a mmroais sujet, down 
in the world, and not likely to rise in it. Gerald, on the con- 
trary, he looked upon as a successful man. Mr. Yorke saw 
only on the surface of things, and judged accordingly. 

" How is Constance ? " inquired Roland. " I sent her word 
not to marry you, you know." 

" Constance is well and happy, and charged me to bring you 
a double share of love and remem.brances," answered the 
clergyman, sHghtly laughing. 

" Dear old Constance ! I say," and Roland dropped his 
voice to a whisper, " is not Annabel like her ? One might 
think it the same face over again." 

Mr. Yorke turned and glanced at Annabel, who was talking 
apart with Gerald. " Yes, there is a great deal of resem- 
blance," he carelessly said, wondering how the young man by 
his side came to be so well dressed. 

Roland, his resentments shallow as the wind, as fleet in 
passing, would have shaken hands with Gerald as a matter of 
course. Gerald managed to evade the honour without ap- 
parent rudeness ; he had the room to greet, and it really 
seemed to Roland quite natural that he should be overlooked. 

" A magnificent funeral," spoke Gerald, glancing askance 
at Roland's suit of black, every whit as handsome as his own. 
" Seven mourning coaches-and-four, and no end of private 
carriages." 

" But I can't say much for their manners, for they did not 
invite me," put in Roland. " I'm older than you are, Gerald." 

"Aw — ah — by a year or two," croaked Gerald, in his worst 
tones. " One has, I take it, to — avv — consider the position of 
a — aw — party on these — aw^ — occasions, not how old they 
may be." 

" Oh, of course," said Roland, some mockery in his good- 
natured voice. " You are a man of fashion, going in for 
whitebait and iced champagne, and I'm only an unsuccessful 
fellow returned like a bad shilling, from Pore Natal, who has to 
work hard for bread and cheese and beer." 

As the hour of William Yorke's return from the funeral was 
uncertain, but expected to be a late one, it had been decided 
that the meal prepared should be a heavy tea. Gerald was 
asked to remain. A few minutes, and they were seated in the 
dining-room at a well-spread board,. Mrs. Channing presiding 



2S4 ROLAND YORKE. 

Hamish, with his bright face, his genial hospitahty, and his 
courtly manners, faced her. Roland and Annabel were on 
one side, the clergyman and Gerald on the other. Miss 
Nelly, on a high chair, wedged herself in between her mamina 
and Roland. 

" Treason ! " cried Hamish. " Who said litde "girls were to 
be at table ? " 

" Mamma did," answered Nelly, quickly. " And mamma 
said I should have some fowl and some tongue." 

" Provided you were silent, and not troublesome," put in 
Mrs. Channing. 

" I'll keep her quiet," said Roland. " Nelly shall whisper 
only to me." 

Miss Nelly's answer was to lift her pretty face up to 
Roland's, who left some kisses on it. 

Gerald sat next to Hamish and opposite to Annabel. Re- 
membering the state of that gentleman's feelings towards Mr. 
Channing, it may be wondered that he condescended to accept 
his hospitality. Two reasons induced him to do so. Any 
quarters were more acceptable than his own just now, and he 
had no invitation for the evening, even had it been decent to 
show himself in the great world an hour after leaving his uncle 
in the grave. The other reason was, that he was just now 
working some ill to Hamish, and wished to appear unusually 
friendly to avert suspicion. 

" I hope you have not dined, Roland," remarked Hamish, 
supplying him with some pigeon-pie. 

" Well, I have, and I haven't," replied Roland, beginning 
upon the tempting viand. " I bought three sausage-rolls at 
one o'clock, down east. It would have been my dinner, but 
for this windfall." 

Gerald flicked his delicate cambric handkerchief out of his 
pocket and held it for a moment to his nose, as if he were 
warding off some odour that brought disgust to him. Sausage- 
rolls ! Whether they, or the unblushing candour of the avowal 
were the worst, he hardly knew. 

" Sausage-rolls must be delicacies ! " he observed, with a 
sneer. And Roland looked across. 

" They are not as good as pigeon-pie. But they cost only 
twopence apiece : and I had only sixpence in my pocket. I 
have to regulate my appetite according to my means," he 
added, with a pleasant laugh. 



LAID WITH HIS FOREFATHERS. 2^5 

"Roland — as you have, in a manner, touched upon the 
subject — I should like to ask what you think of doing," inter- 
]-)Osed William Yorke, in condescending but kindly tones. 
'• Yon seem to have no prospects before you whatever." 

" Oh, I shall get along," cheerfully answered Roland, with a 
glance at Miss Channing. "Perhaps you'll see me in house- 
keeping in a year's time from this." 

" In housekeeping !" 

" Yes : with a house of my own — and, something else. I'm 
not afraid. I have begun to put my shoulder to the wheel in 
earnest. If I don't get on, it shall not be from lack of work- 
ing for it." 

"How have you begun to put your shoulder to the 
wheel ? " 

" Well — I take home copying to do in my spare time after 
office hours. I have been doing it in earnest over three weeks 
now." 

"And how much do you earn at it weekly?" continued 
William Yorke. 

A slight depression passed over Roland's ingenuous face. 
Hamish saw it, and laughed. Hamish was quite a confidant, 
for Roland carried all his hopes and their tiresome drawbacks 
to him. 

" I can tell you : I added it up," said Roland. " Taking 
the three weeks on the average, it has been two-and-twopence 
a week." 

" Two-and-twopence a week ! " echoed William Yorke, who 
after such an introduction had expected him to say at least two 
guineas. Roland detected the surprise and disappointment. 

" Oh, well, you know, William Yorke, a fellow cannot expect 
to make pounds just at first. What with mistakes, Avhen tlie 
writing has to be begun all over again, and paying for spoilt 
paper, which Brown insists upon, two-and-twopence is not so 
bad. One has to make a beginning at everything." 

" Are you a good hand at accounts ? " inquired Mr. Yorke, 
possibly in the vague idea that Roland's talents might be 
turned to account more profitably than copying folios. 

" I ought to be," said Roland. " If counting up, over and over 
and over again, those frying-pans I carried to Port Natal, could 
have made a man an accountant, it must have made one of 
me. I used to be at it morning and evening. You see, I 
thought they were going to sell for about eight-and-twenty 



256 ROLAND YORKE. 

shillings apiece, out there : no wonder I often, reckoned them 
up." 

" And they did not ? " 

" Law, bless you ! In the first place, nobody wanted frying- 
pans, and I had to get a Natal store-keeper to house them in 
his place for me — I couldn't leave them out on the quay. But 
the time came that I was obliged to sell them : they were eating 
their handles off." 

" With rust, I suppose." 

" Good gracious, no ! with rent, not rust. The fellow (they 
are regular thieves over there) charged me an awful rent : so 
I told him to put them into an auction. Instead of the eight- 
and-twenty shillings each that I had expected, he paid me 
about eight-and-twenty pence for the lot, case and all. But if 
you ask whether I am a ready reckoner, William Yorke, I'm 
sure I must be that." 

The Rev. William Yorke privately thought there might be 
a doubt upon the point. He fancied Roland's prospects could 
not be first-rate. 

"This copying is nothing but a preliminary," observed 
Roland. " I am waiting for a place under Government. 
Vincent Yorke I expect can put me up for one, now he has 
come into power ; and I don't think he'll want the will, though 
he did pass me over to-day." 

If ever face expressed contempt, Gerald's did, as he turned 
it full on his brother. For this very hope was being cherished 
by himself. It was he who intended to profit by the interest 
of Sir Vincent, to be exerted on his behalf And to have a 
rival in the field, although one of so litde moment as Roland, 
was not agreeable. 

" The best \k\Yc\%you can do, is to go off again to Port Natal," 
he said roughly. " You'll never get on here." 

" But I intend to get on, Gerald. Once give me a fair start 
— and I have never had it yet — there's not many shall distance 
me." 

*' What do you call a fair start ? " asked Mrs. Channing, Avho 
always enjoyed Roland's dreams. 

"A place where I can bring my abilities into use, and be re 
numerated accordingly. I ask nothing better than to work, 
and be paid for it. Only let me earn a couple of hurdred a 
year to begin with, Mrs. Channing, and you'll never hear m.e 
ask Vincent Yorke or any one else for help again." 



LAID WITH HIS FOREFATHERS. 257 

" You used not to like the prospect of work, Roland," =poke 
"William Yorke. 

" But then I had not had pride and laziness knocked out of 
me at Port Natal." 

William Yorke lifted his eyes. " Did that happen to 
you?" 

" It did^^ emphatically answered Roland. " Oh, I shall get 
into something by-and-by, where my talents can find play. Of 
all things, I should best like a farm." 

" A farm ! " 

"A nice little farm. And if I had a few hundred pounds, 
I'd take one to-morrow. Do you know anything of butter- 
making, Annabel ? " he stopped to ask, dropping his voice. 

Annabel bent her blushing face over her plate, and pretended 
not to hear. Roland thought she was offended. 

"I didn't mean make it, you knoAv," he whispered. "I 
shouldn't like to see you doing such a thing" — turning again 
to the company. "But it's of no good-thinking of a farm, you 
see, William Yorke, when there's no money to the fore." 

" Y^ou don't know anything about farming," said Mr. Yorke, 
wondering whether this appeal to Annabel had meant anything, 
or was only one of Roland's thoughtless speeches. 

" Don't I ? " said Roland. " I was on one for ever so long 
at Port Natal, and had to drive pigs, and do all sorts of work. 
It is astonishing the experience a fellow picks up over there, 
and the little he learns to live upon." 

"Because he has to do it, I suppose." 

" That's the secret. I am earning a pound a week now, re- 
gular pay, and make it do for all my wants. You wouldn't 
think it, would you, William Yorke ? " 

"Certainly not, to look at you," said William Yorke, with 
a smile. " Are clothes included ? " 

" Oh, Carrick goes bail for all that. I'm afraid he'll find the 
bills running up ; but a fellow, if he's a gentleman, must look 
decent I'm as careful as I can be, and sit in my shirt-sleeves 
at home when it's hot weather." 

" Lady Augusta has visions of your walking about London 
out at elbows. I think it troubles her." 

Roland paused, stared, and then started up in contrition. 

" What a thoughtless booby I was, never to let her know ! 
The minute you get down home, you go to her, 'William Yorke. 
I'ell her how it is — that I have the run of Carrick's people lor 

Roland Yorke. 17 



258 ROLAND YORKE. 

clothes, boots, hats, and all the rest of it. This suit came homd 
at eight o'clock this morning, with an apology for not sending 
it last night — the fellow thought I might be going to the funeral 
— and a sensible thought too ! Look at it ! " stretching out his 
arms, and turning himself about. " I'm never worse dressed 
than this : only that my things are not on new every day. You 
tell the mother this, William Yorke." 

He had not displayed himself in vanity ; of that Roland 
possessed as little as any one ; but in eager desire to reassure 
his mother, and atone to her for his forgetfulness. Stooping for 
his napkin, he sat down again. 

"Yes, I am well-dressed, though I have to work. And for 
recreation, there's this house to come to ; and dear old Hamish 
and Mrs. Channing receive me and make much of me, just as 
though I had always been good : and Nelly jumps into my arms." 

" When do you mean to come to Helstonleigh ? " 

" Never," answered Roland, promptly. " As I can't go back 
rich, I shall not go back at all. What / wish to ask is, when 
Arthur Channing is coming up here ? " 

"Arthur Channing ! I cannot tell." 

" It is a shame of people to raise a fellow's hopes, and then 
damp them again. Arthur wrote me word — oh, a month ago — 
that he was coming to London on business for old Galloway. 
Close upon that, comes a second letter, saying Galloway was 
not sure he should need to send him. I should like to serve 
him out." 

William Yorke smiled. " Serve out Arthur ? " 

" Arthur ! I should like to drav/ Arthur round the old city 
in a triumphal car, as we used to chair our city members. I 
mean that wretch of a Galloway. He ought to be taken up for 
an impostor. Why did he go and tell Arthur he should send 
him to London, if he didn't mean to do so ? " 

Gerald Yorke let his fork fall with a dash that nearly chipped 
the delicate Worcester china plate. Was all the conversation 
to be monopolized by Roland and his miserable interests ? It 
was high time to interfere. Taking up the fork again with an 
air, he cleared his throat. 

"Sir Vincent comes into about four-thousand a year, entailed 
property. We went in to hear the will read by old Greatorex. 
It's not much, is it ? " 

" Not for one reared as Vincent Yorke has been," said 
Hamish. "But he has more than that, I presume?" 



LAiiD WITH HIS FOREFATHERS. 259 

" Some odds and ends, I believe : I asked Greatorex. And 
there's the little homestead down in Surrey. Sir Richard's 
liabilities die with him. Perhaps he had already wiped them 
off?" 

" I'm sure he had," said Roland, with good-natured warmth. 
" Oh, we hear a good deal in our office. As to four-thousand 
a year being little for one man, you should have been at Port 
Natal, Gerald, and you'd estimate it differently." 

" To a man about town, like myself, it seems a mere pittance, 
considering what Sir Vincent will have to do out of it," returned 
Gerald, loftily, speaking to any one at table, rather than to his 
brother. 

" That's just it," said Roland. " If I were a man about 
town, and had not been out to Port Natal and learnt the 
value of money, it might seem so to me. Dick won't find 
it enough, I dare say. / should think four-hundred a year 
riches ! " 

Gerald curled his lip. " No doubt ; and a few pigs to 
drive." 

'• I should like a pig, Roland," cried Nelly Channing, turning 
to him, and unconsciously creating a diversion. "A pretty 
little pig, with blue ribbons." 

"As pretty as you," said Roland, squeezing her. "You 
mean a guinea-pig, little stupid. As to driving pigs, Gerald — 
it's not a very great employment of course ; but, you see, I had 
to do what I was put to — or starve." 

"I'd rather starve than do it," retorted Gerald. "And so 
would any one with the instincts of a gentleman." 

" Only go out there and try what starving is ; you'll tell a 
different tale," said Roland, maintaining his good-humour. 
"Starving there means dying, sometimes." 

One of tliose turns in the conversation, which occur so 
naturally, brought round the subject to Mr, Ollivera. Roland, 
imparting sundry revelations of his home-life at Mrs. Jones's — 
or, as he called her still, Mrs. Jenkins — mentioned the clergy- 
man's name. 

" Don't you mean to call and see him ? " he asked of William 
Yorke. " You'd better." 

But Mr. Yorke declined. " My time in London is so very 
short," he said. "I go home to-morrow. Besides, I have 
really no acquaintance with Mr. Ollivera. We never met but 
on one occasion." 



a6b ROLAND YORKE. 

" When you lent him your surplice," spoke Roland. And 
William Yorke looked up in surprise. 

"What do you know about it?" 

" Oh, I know a great deal," returned Roland. " I sa} — • 
why did you not attend that night yourself? You promised to 
do so.'' 

" I did not promise. All I said was, that I would consider 
of it. Upon reflection, I thought it better not to go. The 
circumstances were peculiar; and the Dean, had he come to 
know of it, might have taken me to task." 

" Not he," said independent Roland. " The Dean's made of 
sterling gold." 

"What sort of a chanter does Tom make?" inquired 
Hamish. 

" Very fair ; very fair, indeed," replied William Yorke, some 
patronage in his tone, meant for the absent young minor canon. 
Consciously vain of his own excellence in chanting, Mr. Yorke 
could only accord comparative praise to Tom Channing's. 
The vanity was not without excuse ; Mr. Yorke's sweet and 
sonorous voice was wont to fill the aisles of the old cathedral 
with its melody. 

Just as the tea was over, one of the servants came in with a 
folded weekly review on her silver waiter, and presented it to 
her master. Hamish opened it with a slight apology, and was 
glancing at its pages, when he folded it again with a sudden 
movement and quietly put it in his pocket. His sight, in the 
moment's happy confusion, partially faded ; a bright hectic 
lighted his cheek ; his whole heart leaped up within him, as with 
a rushing, blissful sense of realized hope. For he had seen 
that a review of his book was there. 



CHAPTER XVni. 

A3 IRON INTO THE SOUL> 



The change in his face was remarkable. It was aS though 
a blight had passed over it and withered the life out of it. 

He sat with the journal in his hand— the authoritative 
Snarler — and read the cruel lines over and over again. 



AS IRON INTO THE SOUL. 261 

When, in the solitude of his own study, they first met liis eager 
eye, skimming them rapidly, and their purport was gathered in 
almost at a glance, a faintness seized upon his heart, and he 
hastily put away the paper as though it were some terrible thing 
he dared not look upon further. 

The shock was awful — and the word is not used in its lighter 
sense; the disappointment something not to be described. 
After the departure of his guests, Roland and Gerald : ^^'illiam 
Vorke had gone by his own wish to take home Annabel and to 
make a late call on Mrs. Bede Greatorex, if haply that fashion- 
able dame might be found at home : Hamish Channing had 
passed into his study. There, alone with himself and his 
emotions, he once more unfolded the paper. All the time he 
had sat with it in his pocket, a sweet tumultuous hope had been 
stirring his bosom ; he could hardly forbear, in his eagerness to 
realize it, telling them to hasten and depart And when they 
were really going, it seemed that they were a month over it 
He stood up wishing them good night. 

"■ By the way, Hamish, I should think your book would soon 
be getting reviewed," spoke crafty Gerald, who had seen the 
journal brought in, and knew what it contained. " I hope you'll 
have good ones, old fellow." 

And the wish was spoken with so much apparent frankness, 
the voice had in it so vast an amount of feeling, that Hamish 
gratefully wrung the offered hand. After that, even had he 
been of a less ingenuous nature, he would have suspected 
the whole world of abusing his book, rather than Gerald 
Yorke. 

Shut up in his study, the lamp beside him, he unfolded the 
paper with trembling emotion, his heart beating with hap- 
piness. It was one of those moments, and they come in all 
our lives, which must stamp itself on the memory for ever. He 
looked, and looked. And then put the pages away in a sort 
of terror. 

Never, in this age of bitter reviews, had a more bitter one 
than that been penned. But for his absolute freedom from 
suspicion, his single-mindedness, he might possibly have recog- 
nized Gerald Yorke's slashing style. Gerald, as its writer, 
never once occurred to him. After a while, when the first 
brunt of the shock had passed — and it was almost as a shock 
of death — he took up the paper again, and read the article 
throughout, 



262 ROLAND YORKE. 

His hair grew damp ; his face burnt with a hot shame. With 
this apparently candid, but most damnatory review before his 
eyes, it seemed to him that his book must indeed be bad. The 
critique was ably written, and it attacked him from all sides and 
on all points. Gerald Yorke had taken pains with that as he 
had never taken pains with any article before. It had been, so 
to say, days in construction. One portion would be altered 
to-day, one to-morrow ; with the result that it told. The lead- 
ing characteristic of the whole was sarcastic mockery. The 
scholarship of the book was attacked, (and the scholarship of 
its writer formed a chief point of envy in a corner of Gerald's 
heart) ; its taste, its style, its tone. The pen had been steeped 
in gall. Rounded periods spoke of the work's utter worthless- 
ness, and affectionately warned the public against reading it. 
Its author was called an impudent upstart. It demanded 
what he meant by foisting such a book on the public ; won- 
dered how it had found a publisher; almost prayed the gods 
presiding over literary careers, to deliver unhappy readers 
from James Channing, Abuse and ridicule, ridicule and abuse, 
rang the changes upon one another. Hamish read ; he turned 
back and read again ; and the fatal characters burnt themselves 
into his brain as with unquenchable fire. 

What a reward it was ! Speaking only as a recompense for 
his devotion and labour, setting aside for the moment all higher 
considerations, how cruel was the return ! The devoted lad, 
read of in history, concealed a fox in his bosom, and it repaid 
him by gnawing at his vitals. That reward was not more 
remorselessly cruel than this. Where was the use of Hamish 
Channing's persevering industry, his patient endurance, his 
burning the midnight candle, to bring forth this fruit? To 
what end the never-ceasing care? While Gerald Yorke had 
been flourishing in society, Hamish Channing had been toiling. 
Burning his candle, so to say, at both ends ! Unwearied in- 
dustry, patient continuance in labour, ever-trustful hope — all 
had been his. 

Does the reader realize, I wonder, what is this exercise of 
brain-work day by day, and often night by nighty week after 
week, month after month, year after year ? A book is put into 
the hands of a man — or say a woman, if you will — and he reads 
it with ardour or coolness, more or less of either as the case 
may be, makes his complaisant comments, says the book is a 
5iice book, and seems almost to think it has been brought out 



AS IRON INTO THE SOUL. 263 

for his special delectation. But does he ever give a thought 
to the toil that book has cost the writer? Does he look up to 
him with even a thought of gratitude? Generally speaking, no. 
In the midst, perhaps, of adverse circumstances; long-continued 
sickness, headache, heartache, many aches ; when the inward 
spirit is fainting at life's bitter troubles, and it seems vain to 
struggle more, the labour must yet be done. Look at Hamish 
Channing; his is no ideal case. His day's-work over, he turned 
to his night's- work, and wrote on, until mind and body were 
weary. While others played, he toiled ; when others were at 
their banquetings and revellings, idling away their hours in 
what the world calls society, Gerald Yorke one amidst them, 
he was shut up in his room, labouring on untiringly. And this 
was his reward ! 

The utmost energies of his power and intellect had Hamish 
Channing given to the book : the great gift of genius, which 
had certainly been largely bestowed upon him, was exercised 
and brought to bear upon it. No merit to him for that ; he 
could not help exercising it. It appeared to him, this writing 
for his fellow-men, to be the special end for which he was sent 
into the world — where every man has his appointed and pecu- 
liar aptitude for some one calling or duty, though it happens 
that a vast number never find out their own until it is too late. 
A man reared, as had been James Channing, to good \ anxious 
to live here in the fulfilment of every duty ; using this world 
only as a passage to a better, can only write as a responsible 
agent; whether he may be composing a religious tract or a 
work of fiction, he does it as to his Creator, imploring the 
Divine help day by day. Had Hamish been required to write 
without that sense of responsibility upon him, he would have 
put aside his pen. 

And the disappointment ! the rude, pitiless shock ! It might 
be that such was necessary ; that it had been sent to him from 
Heaven. The least sinful man on earth may have need of such 
discipline. 

Again Hamish read the article from beginning to end. 
Read, and re-read it. It was as if the lines possessed the 
fatal fascination of the basilisk, attracting him against his will. 
He writhed under the executioner's knife, while he submitted 
to it. The book was a good and brilliant work, betraying its 
genius in every line, well conceived, well plotted, ably written. 
It was one of those that take captive the whole imagination of 



264 ROLAND YORKE. 

the reader ; one that a man is all the better for reading, and 
rises up from with a subdued spirit, hushed breath, and glowing 
heart. While enchaining man's deepest interest, it yet insensibly 
led his thoughts heavenwards. Simple though it was in its pure 
Saxon, its sentiments were noble, generous, and exalted. Not 
a thought was there to offend, not a line that, for purity, might 
not have been placed in the hands of a child. Modest, as all 
gifted with true genius are, yet possessing (for that must always 
be) a latent consciousness of his great power, Hamish had 
looked forward for success to his book, as surely as he looked 
for Heaven. That it could be a failure, he had simply never 
thought of; that it should be badly received, ridiculed, con- 
demned, written down, had never entered his imagination. 
Had he been told that such might be the result, he would have 
quietly answered that it was impossible. 

In all matters where the mind and feelings, the inward, silent 
hopes and fears, are deeply touched, it can only be that we are 
sensitively alive to the opinions of our fellow-men, and swayed 
by their judgment. As Hamish Channing read and re-read, 
learning the cruel sentences almost by rote, his heart failed 
within him. For the time being, he thought he must have 
erred in supposing the book so good ; that it must be a foolish 
and mistaken book, deserving only sharp criticism ; and a sense 
of humiliation, than which nothing could be more intensely 
painful, took possession of his spirit. 

But the belief could not remain. The mood changed again. 
The book resumed its estimated place in his mind, and the 
sense of humiliation was superseded by the smarting conviction 
of cruel injustice. What had he or his book done that they 
should be so reviled ? 

" Lord, thou knowest all things ! surely I have not deserved 
this ! " irrepressibly broke from the depths of his anguish. 

No, he had not deserved it. As some others have not, who 
yet have had to bear it. It is one of the world's hard lessons, 
one that very kw are appointed to learn. Injustice and evil 
and oppression exist in the world, and must exist until its end. 
Only then shall we understand wherefore they are permitted. 
Pardon me, reader, if a line or two should seem to be repeated. 
The many months of toil, the patient night-labour, that but for 
the hope-spring rising in the heart might have been found too 
wearing ; the self-denial ever exercised — all had been thrown 
back upon Hamish Channing, and rendered, as it were, null 



AS IRON INTO THE SOUL. 265 

and void. Try and picture to yourselves \Ahat this labour is; 
its aspirations of reward, its hopes of appreciation — and for a 
wickedly disposed man, or simply a carelessly indifferent man, 
or a vain, presumptuous man, or a man who has some petty 
spite to gratify against author or publisher, or a rival reviewer, 
or a man who writes but in wanton idleness, to dash it down 
with a few strokes of a pen ! 

Such things have been. They will be again. But if Gerald 
Yorke, and others like him, would consider how they violate 
the Divine law, it might be that the pen would now and then 
pause in its work. 

Would Gerald have to answer for it at the Great Day of 
Reckoning? Ah, that is a question very little thought of; 
one perhaps difficult to answer. He had set himself deliber- 
ately in his foolish envy, his ill-conditioned spirit, to work evil 
to Hamish Channing : to write down the book on which he 
knew so much depended, that was loved and cherished almost 
as life. It was within the range of possibility that he might 
work more evil than he bargained for. Heaven is not in the 
habit of saying to man by way of reminder when he gets up 
in a morning : " I am looking at you : " but it has told us 
that every secret word and thought and action shall be brought 
to light, whether it be good or whether it be evil. Gerald 
ignored that, after the fashion of this busy world; and was 
perfectly self-complacent under the ignoring. 

Only upon such a mind as Hamish Channing's, with his 
nervous attributes of genius, his refined sensitiveness, could 
the review have brought home its greatest bitterness. Fortu- 
nately such minds are very rare. Gerald Yorke had little 
conception of the extent of its fruit. He would have set on 
and sworn off his anger, and called the writer, who could thus 
stab in the dark, a false coward, and sent him by wishes to all 
kinds of unorthodox places, and vowed aloud to his friends 
that he should like to horsewhip or shoot him. Thus the 
brunt, with him, would have been worked off; the vital feelings 
never so much as touched, if, indeed, Gerald possessed any. 
It was another thing with Hamish Channing. He could almost 
have died, rather than have spoken of the attack to any living 
man ; and if forced to it, as we are sometimes forced to un- 
welcome things, it would have brought the red flush of shame 
to his sensitive brow, to his stricken spirit. 

He !:at on; on, with his aching heart, One hand was 



266 ROLAND YORKE. 

pressed upon his chest : a dull pain had seated itself there. 
Never again, as it seemed to him, should he look up from the 
blow. More and more the cruelty and the injustice struck 
upon him. Does it so strike upon you, reader ? The book 
was not perfection (I never yet met with one that was, in spite 
of what the reviews chose to affirm of Mr. Gerald Yorke's), 
but it was at least written in an earnest, truthful spirit, to the 
utmost of the abilities God had given him. How had it 
invoked this requital? Hamish pondered the question, and 
could not answer it. What had he done to be thus shown up 
to the public ; a butt for any, that would, to throw scorn at ? 
There was no appeal ; there could be no redress. The book 
had been held forth to the world — at least to the thousands 
that would read the Snarler — as bad and incapable, one 
they must avoid as the work of a miserably presumptive 
man. 

A slight movement in the next room, and Mrs. Channing 
came in with Nelly. Miss Nelly, in consideration of the late 
substantial repast, had not been sent to bed at the usual hour. 
Hamish slipped the review inside his desk, and greeted them 
with a smile, sweet-tempered as ever under the blow. But 
his wife saw that some change lay on his face. 

"Is anything the matter, Hamish? You look — worn; as 
if you had received some bad news." 

" Do I ? I am a little tired, Ellen. It has been a very hot 
day." 

"I thought you were not going to work to-night." 

"Oh, I'm not working. Well, young lady, what now?" 

Miss Nelly had climbed on to his knees. She had been 
brought in to say good night. 

" When's the ship coming home, papa?" 

He suddenly bent down and hid his face on the child's 
bright one. Heaven alone knew what the moment's suffering 
was, and how he contrived not to betray it. 

"Will it come to-morrow, papa?" 

" We shall see, darling. I don't know." 

The subdued, patient tone had something of hopelessness in 
it. Mrs. Channing thought he must be very tired. 

" Come, Nelly," she said. " It is late, you know." 

He kissed the child tenderly as ever, but so quietly, and 
whispered a prayer for God to bless her ; his tone sounding as 
one of subdued pain, alniost as though his heart were breaking. 



AS IRON INTO THE SOUL. 267 

And Nelly went dancing out, talking of the ship and the good 
things it was to bring her. 

Almost immediately after, a gentleman was shown in. It 
was the publisher of the book. Late though the hour was, he 
bad come in som.e perturbation, bringing with him a copy of 
the Snarler. 

"Have you any enemy, Mr. Channing?" was almost the 
first question he asked, when he found Hamish had seen the 
article. 

"Not one in the w^ide world, as far as I know." 

"The review is so remarkably unjust, so utterly at variance 
with fact and truth, that I should say only an enemy could 
have done it," persisted the publisher. " Look, besides, at 
the rancour of its language, its evident animus ; I scarcely ever 
read so aggravated an attack," 

But still Hamish could only reiterate his conviction. " I 
have no enemy." 

" Well, it is a great pity ; in fact a calamity. When once an 
author's reputation is made and he is a favourite with the 
public, bad reviews cannot harm him : but to a first book, 
where the author is unknown, they are sometimes fatal." 

"Yes, I suppose they are," acquiesced Hamish. 

"^^'e must wait now for the others, Mr. Channing. And 
hope that they will be the reverse of this. But it is a sad thing 
— and, I must say, a barefaced injustice." 

Nothing more could be said, nothing done. The false 
review was in the hands of the public, and Hamish and his 
publisher were powerless to arrest or remedy the evil. The 
gentleman went out, leaving Hamish alone. 

Alone with his blow and its anguish. He felt as one who, 
living all night in a sweet dream, has been rudely awakened to 
some terrible reality. The hopes of years were dashed away ; 
life's future prospects were broken up. If ever the iron entered 
into the soul of man, it had surely passed into that of James 
Channing. 

The injustice of the thing told upon him more than all ; the 
unmerited stab would damage him for ever. In his bitter 
strife, he almost dared to ask how men could be permitted 
thus to prey one upon another, and not be checked by Heaven's 
lightning. But, to that there might be no answer ; others have 
asked it before him, 



268 ROLAND YORKE. 

"So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that 
are done under the sun : and behold the tears of such as were 
oppressed, and they had no comforter ; and on the side of their 
oppressors there was power : but they had no comforter. 
\Vnerefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than 
the living which are yet alive." 

Involuntarily, with a strange force, these words passed 
through the mind of James Channing, 

But the wise King of Israel — and God had given him more 
than earthly wisdom — could give no explanation of why this 
should be. 



PART THE THIRD. 

CHAPTER I. 

DURING THE AUTUMN. 

The year had gone on to October, and that month was quickly 
passing. 

The lapse of some three or four months had not brought 
any change worthy of record : people and things were very 
much in the position they had been : but a slight summary 
must be given. 

Bede Greatorex had been on the wing. Early in August he 
vrent abroad with his wife, choosing Switzerland as his first 
halting-ground. Bede had proposed some place (if it could 
be found) less frequented by the English ; and I\Irs. Bede had 
retorted that if he wanted to vegetate, he might go abroad 
alone. In the invariable kindness and consideration Bede 
observed to her, even to her whims, he yielded : and they went 
off in the wake of a shoal of tourists, with another shoal 
behind them. 

It was Mr. Greatorex who had insisted on this holiday for 
Bede. " You are growing more incapable of work every day," 
he plainly said to him : " a rest will, I hope, restore you ; and 
take it you must." Bede yielded. That he was very much 
in need of a change of some sort, he knew. And of rest also 
— if he could only get it. But the latter might be harder to 
obtain than Mr. Greatorex suspected. 

So they went to Switzerland : Bede and his wife, and her 
maid Tallet. Bede thought the party would have been a great 
deal more compact and comfortable without the lady's-maid, 
and he gently hinted as much. The hint was quite lost on 
Mrs. Bede, who took not the smallest notice of it. In point 
of fact, that lady (besides being incorrigibly idle, never doing 
an earthly thing for herself) had absolute need of artistic aid 
in the matter of making-up : fice and shape and hair and attire 



270 ROLAND YORKE. 

requiring daily renovation. From Switzerland they went about 
to other places, not necessary to be noted, and returned home 
the middle of October, after rather more than two months' 
absence ; followed by nearly a fourgon of fashions from Paris : 
for that seductive capital had been their last resting-place, and 
Mrs. Bede had found its magasins as seductive as itself. Bede 
winced at the cheques he had to draw. 

Mr. Greatorex started with alarm when he saw his son. 
They reached home at night, having come up by the tidal 
train from Folkestone, which had been somewhat delayed by 
the boat's rough passage. During their absence, it had been 
the quietest and happiest home imaginable, consisting of Mr. 
Greatorex, Annabel Channing, and the little girl; Frank 
Greatorex having holiday as well as Bede. For visitors they 
had Henry William Ollivera and Roland Yorke, one or the 
other dropping in to tea two or three times a week. Mr. 
Greatorex was as a very father to Annabel ; and Miss Jane, 
subjected to regularity and good influences only, was on her 
best behaviour. The old lawyer, in the happy quiet, the relief 
conferred by the absence of commotion and Mrs. Bede, thought 
the good old times had come back again. 

All three were sitting together in the drawing-room when 
Bede and his wife entered. The rays of the chandelier flashed 
full on Bede's face, and Mr. Greatorex started. Far from his 
son's having benefited by the tour, he looked worse than 
ever. His cheeks were hollow and hectic, his face was alto- 
gether worn. Perhaps for the first time it struck Mr. Greatorex, 
as he glanced from one to the other, that she likewise looked 
thin and worn, with restless eyes and hollow cheeks that were 
hectic also. But in the hectic there v/as this difference : Bede's 
was natural, hers was put on. What would they have been 
without the rouge ? 

Bede said he was better. When Mr. Greatorex spoke 
seriously to him on the following morning, advising a con- 
sultation, Bede laughed. He declared that the rest from 
business had done him an imm.ense amount of good. Thin ? 
Of course he was thin. So was Louisa — did Mr. Greatorex 
not notice it ? So was the maid, for the matter of that. They 
had gone whirling about from place to place, a little too fast, 
he supposed, making a toil of pleasure. And then the frightful 
sea passage ! Of course they looked the worse for it last night, 
but they were both all right this morning. 



DURING THE AUTUMN. 27I 

So spoke Bede, and went to work with a will : really with 
some of his old energy. He appeared fresh and tolerably well 
after his night's rest; and Mr. Greatorex felt reassured. 

Gerald Yorke was another who had taken holiday. Gerald 
had managed to get an invitation to cruise in the Honourable 
Mr. Fuller's yacht ; and Gerald, with two or three other guests, 
went careering off for the space of six weeks. Before starting, 
he had accomplished his reviewing work with regard to Hamish 
Channing's book- — but that can be left until later. Gerald 
enjoyed himself amazingly. The yacht occasionally put into 
foreign ports, when they would take a few days' cruise on land. 
The honourable owner treated his friends right royally, and 
Gerald had not felt so much at ease since he was a boy. By 
a slice of luck, which Gerald hardly believed in at the time, he 
had induced Vincent Yorke to lend him fifty pounds before 
starting, and he thought himself commendably generous in 
dividing this with his wife. 

" Now mind, Winny," he said to her on the morning of his 
departure, " I shall be away about five weeks. It can't take 
you five pounds a week to live and pay rent, so I shall expect 
you to have a good sum in hand when I get back again. Til 
drop you a letter now and then, but you'll not be able to write 
to me, as we shall be moving about from place to place just as 
the wind or mood takes us." 

Therefore, on the score of his wife and children, Gerald was 
at ease ; and he quite expected, after his charge to Winny, that 
she would have something like eight or ten pounds left of the 
twenty-five ; at least, that she ought to have. He was out of 
reach of creditors too. He did not allow the future to trouble 
him (he never did), and Gerald gave himself up wholly to the 
enjoyment of the present. 

Little did Gerald Yorke suspect, as he leaned over the side 
of the yacht in seductive indolence, smoking his cigar and 
sipping his iced Burgundy, that poor Winny's money had come 
to an end before the second week was over. It might not 
have cost him a single moment's care if he had known it, for 
Gerald was one upon whom no earthly person's trouble made 
the smallest impression, unless it touched him personally. 
Effectually out of the way himself, Winny might just have 
done as best she could. Gerald would have wished he was 
at hand to tell her she deserved a shaking for her folly, and 
dismissed the matter from his mind. 



272 kOLAND YORiCE. 

The way the money went so soon, was this, Gerald's man- 
servant in chambers, just as glad as his master to be respited 
from troublesome creditors, informed one of that ill-used body 
where Mr. Gerald Yorke had gone, on the very day following 
the departure. " Cruising over the sea in a lord's yacht to 
foreign parts, and likely to be away till winter," Of course 
this struck the applicant speechless. He happened to know 
that Gerald Yorke had a wife and family in town, and set him- 
self forthwith to learn their address. This he found not very 
difficult to accomplish. His own debt was not a very heavy 
one, rather less than six pounds. Down he went, demanded 
an interview with Mrs. Yorke, and so scared her senses away 
by insisting upon instant payment there and then, that Winny 
handed over the money. Other creditors heard of this ; went 
down too, and insisted upon the same prompt payment. 
Winny had many virtues no doubt, but that of courage she 
could certainly not boast of. In all that related to debt and 
its attendant annoyances, she was timid as a fawn. To be 
pressed for an account and not pay it if she had the money in 
her possession, was simply impossible to Winifred Yorke. But 
this I think has been hinted at before. When the last fraction 
of the twenty-five pounds had left her (in a payment of four 
pounds ten to a stern-looking, but by no means abusive man), 
Winny burst into tears : declaring she did not expect her hus- 
band home for weeks, did not know where to write to him, and 
had not a sixpence left for herself and her poor little children. 
Upon that the man put the half-sovereign back mto Mrs. Yorke*s 
hand without a word, and departed. 

So there was Winn}^, literally without a sixpence, this ten 
sliillings excepted, and Gerald not quite two weeks gone. But 
for Hamish Channing and his wife, she might really have 
starved ; most certainly she would have been turned out of 
doors ; for the landlady, tired of Mr. Gerald Yorke's uncertain 
finances, would not have kept her. Miss Cook said she could 
not afford to let rooms and get no rent for them ; and no doubt 
that was true enough. Away went Winny with her grief and 
helplessness to Mrs. Channing. It was an awkward dilemma, 
an embarrassing appeal, and Ellen Channing felt it so. On 
the one hand, there was this helpless woman, and her little less 
helpless children : on the other, Ellen was aware that Hamish 
had already aided her far more extensively than he could 
afford. 



DURING THE AUTUMN. I73 

Oh, it was true. Many and many a little luxury (Gerald 
would have called it a necessary) that Hamish needed in his 
failing aealth — for it had begun to fail — did he deny himself 
for the saKe of Gerald Yorke's wife and children. His heart 
ached for them. He took not the smallest pleasure, he often 
walked where he ought to have ridden, he would take bread 
and cheese for his lunch, that he might give the money saved 
to Mrs. Yorke. In those golden dreams of fame and fortune, 
when his book was approaching completion, and the realization 
of its returns had apparently been drawing near (months ago 
now, it seemed, t,ince they were dreamt out), Hamish had 
cherished a little plot of setting Gerald on his legs again 
anonymously •. of putting him straight with the world, that he 
might see his way towards a more satisfactory state of matters 
for himself and Winny. This had been frustrated through the 
book being written down, and a httle of the grief in Hamish 
Channing's weary heart was sighing itself out for Gerald's sake. 
Hamish said no word of the disappointment to a living soul — 
we are speaking now in regard to Gerald — Ellen had been his 
sole confidant, and he did not allude to it even to her. To 
Hamish, it seemed that there was only the more necessity for 
helping Gerald, in administering to the necessities of his for- 
saken wife. 

And Gerald's wife had invented a pleasant fable. As the 
weeks went on after Winny came up to London, it was not 
possible but that Gerald should see that some one must be 
helping her with money. Put to it for an excuse, one day that 
Gerald asked the question point blank, and not daring to say it 
was Hamish or Ellen Channing, Winny declared it was her 
mother. Gerald stared a little. Mrs. Eales lived somewhere 
down in Wales, and existed on an annuity of sixty pounds 
a year. But though he wondered how the good old incrc 
contrived to help Winny so much, or in fact at all, he in- 
quired no farther. She might be reducing herself to a crust 
of bread and a glass of water a day ; might be, for aught he 
knew, forestalling her income ; Gerald was content to let it be so. 

And thus matters had been going on : Winny always in want, 
and Hamish taxing himself to help her. In September, the 
office he served offered him a fortnight's holiday, thinking he 
looked as if he required it. Hamish thanked them, but declined. 
He had no spirits for taking holiday, and helping Gerald's family 
had left him no funds for it. 

Roland Yorke. 1^ 



274 ROLAND YORKE. 

And when Winny burst into Mrs. Channing's one afternoon, 
with the confession, that she was utterly penniless, except for the 
half-sovereign the man had put back, and should be so until 
Gerald came home, weeks hence, telling it in the presence of 
her three little girls, with woe-begone face, and tears and sobs, 
Ellen Channing felt annoyed. Mixed with her compassion for 
Gerald's wife, was a feeling that they had already done more 
for her than they were justified in doing. Ellen would have 
liked the fortnight's holiday very much indeed on her own score. 
A suspicion had begun to dawn upon her that her husband was 
not so strong as he might be, and one morning she spoke to 
him. It was only the hot weather, that made him feel weak, 
Hamish answered, perhaps really thinking so. Very well, 
argued Ellen, there was all the more necessity for going to the 
sea-side for a change. And he would have been glad enough 
to take the change had funds permitted it. Considering that 
the small amounts incessantly supplied to Mrs. Gerald Yorke 
would have taken them to the sea-side ever so many times 
over, Mrs. Channing had/t'// it. And to have this fresh demand 
made upon them, when she had supposed Winny was safe for 
some weeks to come ; to hear that she wanted money for every- 
thing — food and lodging and washing and sundries, did strike 
Mrs. Channing as being a little too much. 

Ellen Channing had been, as Ellen Huntley, reared to 
liberality. She was large-hearted by nature, open-handed by 
habit. To refuse to continue to aid Mrs. Yorke in her need 
w^ould have gone against her inclination, but to continue to 
supply her at any cost went almost equally so. What to do, 
and what Winny would do, she could not imagine. The first 
thing was, to take Winny's things off and comfort her for the 
rest of the day ; the next was to send the children to Miss 
Nelly in the nursery ; the third to wait until Hamish came in. 

He arrived at the usual hour, his face a little brighter than it 
had been of late. However James Channing might try to con- 
ceal the curious pain — not physical yet, only mental — always 
gnawing at his heart-strings, and to put on a brave smile before 
his wife and the world, she detected that all was not right with 
him. Leaving Winny, on the plea that she would see whether 
the children were at tea, Mrs. Channing followed her husband 
into his dressing-room. 

He had just dried his hands when she entered, and was 
turning to the glass to brush his hair. She stood by while 



DURING THE AUTUMN. 275 

telling him of Winny's piteous state, and the impossibility, as 
it seemed, that they could do much for her. 
. "Yes, we can, Ellen," he said, turning to her with his bright 
smile when the recital was over. " 1 have had a slice of luck 
to-day." 

" A slice of luck ! " 

" Even so. You remember Martin Pope, poor fellow, who 
somehow got down in the world at Helstonleigh, and borrowed 
a little money from me to get him up in it again ?" 

"Yes, I remember. It was sixty pounds." 

" Well, Ellen, he has been rather long getting up, but it is 
really coming at last. He called in at the office this morning, 
and repaid me half the loan. Poor Martin ! he is honourable 
as the day. He says the not being able to repay me when the 
bank went worried him terribly ; and all the more so, because 
I never bothered him." 

" Did you ask him for it then ? " 

" No. I was sure it was not in his power to refund it, and 
so left him in peace. Ellen, if I were dying for money — if I 
saw my wife and child dying for it — I think I could not be harsh 
with those who owed it me, where I knew their power and not 
their will was in fault." 

He was taking a small packet of notes from his pocket-book, 
laughing rather gaily. 

" I feel like a schoolboy showing his treasures. See, love. 
Six five-pound notes. We can help Mrs. Winny with some of 
this." 

Ellen's fair fresh face broke into dimples. " And we can take 
a holiday too, Hamish." 

"Ah no. At least, I can't. That's over." 

" But why ? " 

" Because when I declined, the clerk under me was allowed 
to take one, and another of them is ill. I must stick to my 
post this year." 

The dimples hid themselves : the expectant face clouded over. 
He noticed it. 

" I am very sorry, Ellen. If you would like to go, and take 
Nelly and nurse with you " 

" Oh, Hamish, you know I would not," she interrupted, vexed 
that he should even suggest such a thing. " I only care for it 
for your sake ; for the rest it would be to you." 

" I don't care about it for myself, love." 



276 ROLAND YORKE. 

He drew her to him as she passed on her way out of the room, 
and kissed her fondly. Ellen let her hand rest for a moment 
on his neck ; she never looked at him now, but a feeling of 
apprehension darted through her, that he was not as strong as 
he ought to be. 

Hamish closed the door after her, finished his toilet, and then 
stood looking from the open window. The world had changed 
to him for some little time now ; the sunshine had gone out of 
it. That one bitter, cruel review, had been followed up by 
others more cruel, if possible, more bitter. The leading papers 
were all against him. How he battled with it at the time and 
made no sign, he hardly knew To heart and spirit it was a 
death-blow ; for both seemed alike to have had their very life 
crushed out. He went on his way still, fulfilling every duty, 
every daily obligation kindly, courteously as of yore, believing 
that the world saw nothing. In good truth the world did not. 
Except that his sunny smile had always a tinge of sadness in it, 
that he seemed to grow a trifle thinner, that his voice, though 
sweet as ever, was low and subdued, the world noticed nothing. 
Ellen alone saw it ; saw that a blight had fallen upon the spirits. 

But she little guessed its extent. Hamish himself did not 
do so. All he knew was, that a more cruel blow had been dealt 
to him than he had supposed it possible to be experienced in 
this life. When by chance his eye would fall on a volume of 
his work, his very soul seemed to turn sick and faint within 
him. It was as if he had cast his whole hopes upon a die, and 
lost it. His dreams of fame, his visions of that best reward, 
appreciation, had faded, and left him in darkness. Darkness, 
and worse than darkness ; for out of it loomed mortification 
and humiliation and shame. The contrast alone Avent near to 
killing him. In the pursuit of his high artistic ideal, he had 
lived and moved and almost had his being. The ills of life 
had touched him not ; the glorious aspirations that made his 
world, shielded him from life's frowns. It is ever so with those 
rare few whom the Divine gift of genius has made its own. As 
the grand hope of fruition drew nearer and nearer, it had seemed 
to Hamish, at moments, that realization had actually come to 
him. The laurel-crown seemed resting upon his head ; the 
longed-for prize all but touched his lips. No wonder, when 
the knell of all this light and hope and blessedness boomed 
suddenly out, that the better part of Hamish Channing's life, his 
vitality, went with it. 



DURING THE AUTUMN. 277 

He worked on still. His papers for the niagazines were 
written as before, for he could not afford to cease writing them. 
Gerald Yorke, borrowing here, borrowing there, might go career- 
ing off in yachts, and pass weeks in idleness, sending work and 
care to his friend the deuce; but Hamish and Gerald were 
essentially different men. Even this evening, after Hamish 
should have dined, he must turn to his toilsome work. It was 
felt as a toil now ; the weary pain, never quitting his bosom, 
took all energy from him. 

He stood holding the window-curtain in his rather fragile 
hand ; more fragile than it used to be. The sky that evening 
was very lovely. Gold-edged purple clouds were crowding the 
west; beneath them a flood of brighter gold seemed as if it 
must be irradiating the other side of the world, to which the 
sun was swiftly passing. Hamish could but notice it : it is 
not often that a sunset is so beautiful. Insensibly, as he gazed, 
thoughts stole over him of that other world, where there shall 
be no need of the sun to lighten it : where there shall be no 
more bitter tears or breaking hearts ; where sorrow and trouble 
shall have passed away. These same thoughts came to him 
very often now, and always with a sort of yearning. 

As he took his hand from the curtain, with that deep-drawn 
sigh which is a sure token of some long-concealed sorrow — for 
else it is never heard — the signet-ring fell from his little finger. 
It had grown too large for him as we are apt to say. " U I 
don't take care, I shall lose it," thought Hamish. And that 
would have been regarded as a misfortune, for it had been his 
father's, the one Mr. Channing always wore and used. This 
was the third time it had slipped off. 

Hamish saw his wife's work-box on a table, looked for, and 
found some black sewing-silk. This he hastily wound round 
and round the ring, for he knew dinner must be waiting. Thus 
secured, he put it on again, and left the room. The children 
heard his step, and came bounding out of the nursery, Miss 
Nelly springing into his arms. 

He kissed her very tenderly , lovingly put back her golden 
hair. He took up the other little things and kissed them in 
turn, asking if they had had love-letters from papa. Looking 
into the nursery, he inquired whether they had plenty of jam 
and good things on the tea-table, telling nurse to see that little 
Rosy, who could not fight for herself, had her share. Then, 
leaving them with his pleasant nod, and sunnv smile, he went 



278 ROLAND YORKE. 

to the drawing-room, and gave their mother his arm to take her 
down to dinner, whispering to her — for she seemed depressed, 
her tears on the point of brimming over — that he would make 
it all right for her until her husband came home. And it was 
that husband, that father, who had worked him all the evil ! 
Hamish suspected it not. Cowards, and malicious cowards, 
such as Gerald, stab in the dark. 

And so September went on, and Octooer drew near, and by- 
and-by Mr. Gerald Yorke arrived home again. Winny, who 
had no more tact than her youngest infant, the little Rosy, 
greeted her husband with a flood of tears, and the news of how 
she had been obliged to pay away the twenty-five pounds in 
settling his bills. Gerald called her a fool to her face, and 
frowned awfully. Winny only sobbed. Next he demanded, 
with a few more ugly words that might have been left out, 
how the devil she had managed to go on. Between choking 
and shrinking, the answer was almost inaudible, and Gerald 
bent his head to catch it : she had had a little more help from 
" mamma." 

Was Mrs. Gerald Yorke's deceit excusable? Even under 
the circumstances few may think it so. And yet — it was a 
choice between this help, and the very worst discomfort that 
could fall upon her : that of debt. Winny was shrewd in some 
things : she knew all about her husband's ill-feeling to Mr. 
Channing ; she knew about the reviews ; and she really be- 
lieved that if Gerald heard whence her help had come, he 
would shake her as he shook Kitty. In her utter want of 
moral courage, she could only keep up the deception. 

But Gerald Yorke had come home in great feather, a prize- 
rose in his button-hole. By dint of plausible statements to Mr. 
Fuller, he had got that honourable friend to lend him two 
hundred pounds. Or rather, strictly speaking, to get it lent 
to him. With this money safely buttoned up in his pocket, 
Winny's penniless state was not quite so harshly condemned 
as it might otherwise have been : but when Winny timidly 
asked for some money to " pay mamma back," Gerald shortly 
answered that he had none : mamma must wait. 

And so, at the opening of this third part of our story, 
Gerald Yorke was flourishing. A great man he, in his cham- 
bers again, free from duns for a time, giving his wine parties, 
entering into the gaieties of social life, with all their waste of 
time and money. Winny's rent was paid now, regularly, 



DURING THE AUTUMN. 279 

and some new bonnets for herself and the children were 
bought. 

"I am so glad to hear you are more at ease, Gerald," 
Hamish Channing said, accidentally meeting him one day, and 
speaking with genuine kindness, but never hinting at any debt 
that might be due to himself. " How have you managed it, 
old friend?" 

" Oh — aw — I — paid the harpies a — aw — trifle, and have — • 
aw — got some credit again," answered Gerald, evading the 
offered hand. '* Good day. Tm in a hurry." 

But Gerald Yorke, though flourishing in funds, was not 
flourishing in temper. Upon one subject it was chronically 
bad, and he as angry and mortified as he could be. And that 
was in regard to his future prospects in the field of literature. 
Three or four days after his return, he paid a visit to his 
publishers, hoping there might be a good round sum coming 
to him, the proceeds of his book. Alas for sublunary expecta- 
tions ! The acting partner met him with a severely cold face 
and very bad news. The flashing reviews, written, as may be 
remembered, by Gerald himself or his bosom-friends, had not 
served the book, after all, in the long-run. When they ap- 
peared, it caused demands for it to flow in, and a considerable 
number of copies went out. But when the public got the 
book, they could not or would not read it, and the savage 
libraries returned the copies to the publishers, wholly refusing 
to pay for them. They sent them back in shoals : vowed that 
the pufifing of an utterly miserable book in the extraordmary 
style that this one had been puffed, was nothing less than 
fraud. Some went so far as to say that publishers and author 
and reviewers ought all to be indicted for conspiracy. In 
short, the practical result was, that the book might almost be 
said to be withdrawn, so few copies remained in circulation. 
In all respects it was an utter failure. No wonder the unhappy 
publisher, knowing himself wholly innocent in the matter, 
smarting under a considerable loss, besides the fifty pounds 
that ought to have been advanced by Gerald, and never yet 
had been : no wonder that he met Mr. Gerald Yorke with 
a severe face. The only gratification afforded him lay in telling 
this, and enlarging rather insultingly on the worthlessness of 
the book. 

" You, a reviewer, could not have failed to know it was bad^ 
Mr. Yorke; one that was certain to fail signally." 



28o ROLAND YORKE. 

" No I didn't know it," roared Gerald. 

" Well, I would recommend you never to attempt another. 
That field is closed to you." 

"What the devil do you mean ? — How dare you presume to 
give me such advice ? I shall write books without end if I 
think fit to do so. My firm belief is that the failure is your 
fault. You must have managed badly, and not properly pushed 
the book." 

" Perhaps it is my fault that the public can't read the book 
and won't put up with it," retorted the publisher. 

Gerald flung away in a temper. A hazy doubt, increasing 
his mortification and anger, kept making itself heard ) whether 
this opinion of the book's merits might not be the true one ? 
Hamish Channing, though softening the fiat, had expressed 
just the same. Gerald would very much have liked to pitch 
publisher and public into the sea, and Hamish Channing with 
them. 



CHAPTER n. 

ARRIVING AT EUSTON SQUARE. 



Roland Yorke had stuck to his copying. During the autumn, 
now rapidly passing, when all the world and his wife were on 
the wing, spending their money, and taking their pleasure — • 
which Roland thought uncommonly hard on him — he had 
really put his shoulder to the wheel and drudged on at his 
evening work. The office had him by day, the folios by night. 
And if he hindered an evening or two a week by dropping in 
upon Mr. Greatorex and somebody else who was in Mr. Grea- 
torex's house, he sat up at his work when he reached home. 
Truly Roland had learnt a lesson at Port Natal, for this was 
very different from what he would have done in the old days 
at Helstonleigh. It could not be said that he was making a 
(ortune. The writing came to grief sometimes ; Roland was 
as fond of talking as ever, by way of accompaniment to labour, 
and the result would be that words were left out in places and 
>\Tong ones penned in others : upon which fresh paper had to 
be taken, and the sheet begun again. Therefore he was ad- 



ARRIVING AT EUSTON SQUARE. 2S1 

vancing rather more surely than swiftly : his present earnings 
amounted in the aggregate to two sovereigns ! And these he 
deposited for safety in Mrs. Jones's hands. 

But Roland is not writing this October evening : which, all 
things considered, was destined to turn out rather a notable 
one. A remark was made in a former chapter, that Roland, 
from the state of ecstatic delight he was thrown into by the 
news that Arthur Channing was about to visit London, did 
not quite know whether he stood on his head or his heels. 
Most assuredly that same remark might be applied to him this 
evening. Upon dashing into his room, a little before six 
o'clock, Roland found on his tea-table a letter that had arrived 
by the day-mail from Helstonleigh. Recognizing Arthur's 
handwriting, he tore it open, read the few lines it contained, 
and burst forth into a shout so boisterous and prolonged, that 
the Reverend Mr. Ollivera, quietly reading in the drawing- 
room above, leaped from his seat in consternation, fully believ- 
ing that some one was on fire. 

Arthur Channing was coming to London ! That same even- 
ing. Almost at that very hour he ought to be arriving at 
Euston-Square Station. Roland did not give himself leisure to 
digest the why and the wherefore of the journey, or to specu- 
late upon why the station should be Euston Square and not 
Paddington, Arthur was coming, and that was sufficient for 
him. 

Neglecting his tea, brushing himself up, startling Mrs. Jones 
with the suddenness of the tidings, which he burst into her 
room to deliver, Roland set off for Euston Square. As usual, 
he had not a fraction of money in his pocket That was no 
impediment to his arriving in time : and the extraordinary 
manner in which he pushed his way along the streets, caused 
a crowd of little ragamuffins to collect and follow him, believ- 
ing that, like Johnny Gilpin, he was doing it for a wager. 

Charles, the youngest of the Channing family, was coming 
home overland, via Marseilles, from India, where he had an 
excellent appointment. He had gone to it at eighteen, two 
years ago, and been very well until recently. All at once his 
health failed, and he was ordered home for a six-months' 
sojourn. It was to meet him in London, where he might be 
expected in a day or two, and take him down to Helstonleigh, 
that Arthur Channing was now coming up. 

Panting and breathless with haste, wild with excitement, 



282 ROLAND YORKE. 

Roland went striding on the platform just as the train came 
steadily in. It was a mercy he did not get killed. Catching 
sight of the well-remembered face — though it was aged and 
altered now, for the former stripling of nineteen had grown 
into the fine man of seven-and-twenty — Roland sprang forward 
and held on to the carriage. Porters shouted, guards flew — 
it was all one to him. 

They stood together on the platform, hand locked in hand : 
but that French customs do not prevail with us, Roland might 
have hugged Arthur's life out of him. Tears were in his eyes 
with the genuineness of his emotion. Roland's love for his 
early friend, who had once suffered so much for his sake, was 
no simulated one. The spectators spared a minute to turn 
and gaze on the two notable young men. Arthur was nearly 
as tall as Roland, very noble and distinguished. His face had 
not the singular beauty — as beauty — of Hamish's, but it was 
good, calm, handsome : one of those that thoughtful men like 
to look upon. His grey eyes were dark and deep, his hair was 
auburn. 

" Arthur, old friend, I could die of joy. If you only knew 
how often 1 have dreamt of this ! " 

Arthur laughed, pressed his hand warmly, and more warmly, 
ere he released it. "I must see after my luggage at once, 
Roland. I think it is lost." 

" Lost your luggage ? " 

" Yes ; in so far as that it has not come with me. This," 
showing a basket, covered with tissue-paper, that he brought 
out of the carriage with his umbrella and a small parcel, " is 
something Lady Augusta asked me to convey to Gerald." 

"What is it?" 

" Grapes, I fancy. She charged me not to let it be crushed. 
I sent my portmanteau on to the station by Galloway's man, 
and when I arrived there could not see him anywhere. When 
we reached Birmingham it was not to be found, and I tele- 
graphed to Helstonleigh. The guard said if it came to 
Birmingham in time he would put it in the van. I only 
reached the station as the train was starting, and had no time 
to look round me." 

" But what took you round by Birmingham ? " 

" Business for Galloway. I had three or four hours' work to 
do for him there." 

" Bother Galloway ! How are the two mothers ? " continued 



ARRIVING AT EUSTON SQUARE. 283 

Roland, as they walked arm-in-arm down the platform, " How's 
everybody ? " 

" Yours is verj' well ; mine is not. She has never seemed 
quite the thing since my father's death, Roland. Every one 
else is well ; and I have no end of messages for you." 

I'hey stood round the luggage-van until it was emptied. 
Nothing had been turned out belonging to Arthur Channing. 
It was as he feared — the portmanteau was not there. 

" They will be sure to send it on from Birmingham by the 
next train," he remarked. " I shall get it in the morning." 

'' Where was the good of your coming by this duffing train ? " 
cried Roland. " It's as slow as an old cart-horse. I should 
have taken the express." 

" I could not get away before, Roland. Galloway made a 
point of my doing all there was to do." 

" Cantankerous, exacting old beauty ! Are his curls flourish- 
ing?" 

Arthur smiled. " Charming still, but growing a little thin." 

"And you are getting on well, Arthur ?" 

"Very well. My salary is handsome; and I believe the 
business, or part of it, will be mine some day. We had better 
take a cab, Roland. Til get rid of Gerald's parcel first. This 
small one is for Hamish. Stay a moment, though." 

He wrote down the name of a private hotel near the Strand, 
where he intended to stay, requesting that the portmanteau 
should be sent there on its arrival. 

Jumping into a hansom, Roland, who had not recovered his 
head, gave the address of Gerald's chambers. As they were 
spinning along the lighted streets, however, he impulsively 
arrested the cab, without warning Arthur, and substituted !Mrs. 
Gerald Yorke's lodgings. They were near at hand ; but that 
was not his motive for the change. 

"If we leave the grapes at the chambers, Ger will only 
entertain his cronies with them — a lot of fast men like him- 
self," explained Roland. " By taking them to Winny's, those 
poor meek little mites may stand a chance of getting a few. I 
don't believe they would ever taste anything good at all but for 
Mrs. Hamish Channing." 

Arthur Channing did not understand. Roland enlightened 
him, Gerald kept up, as might be said, two establishments : 
chambers for himself and lodgings for his wife. 

" But that must be expensive," observed Arthur. 



284 ROLAND YORKE. 

" Of course it is. Ger goes in for expense and fashion. 
All well and good if he can do it — and keep it up. I think 
he has had a windfall from some quarter, for he is launch- 
ing out uncommonly just now. It can't be from work ; he 
has been taking his ease all the autumn in Tom Fuller's 
yacht." 

" I don't quite understand yet, Roland. Do you mean that 
Gerald does not live with his wife and children?" 

" He lives with them after a fashion : gives them one-third 
of his days and nights, and gives his chambers the other two. 
You'd hardly recognize him now, he is so grand and stuck-up. 
He wouldn't nod to me in the street." 

" Roland ! " 

" It's true. He's as heartless as an owl ] Ger always was, 
you know." 

" But you are his brother." 

" Brothers and sisters don't count for much with Gerald. 
Besides, I'm down in the world, and he wouldn't move a finger 
to lift me up in it again. Would you believe it, Arthur, he 
likes nothing better than to fling in my teeth that miserable old 
affair of the bank-note at Galloway's. The last time we ever 
met — I had run into Winny's lodgings to take some dolls' 
clothes for Kitty from little Nelly Channing — Ger taunted me 
with that past affair, and more than hinted, not for the first 
time, that I'd helped myself to some money lost last summer 
by Bede Greatorex. If I'd known Ger was at home, I would 
never have gone : Miss Nelly might have done her errand her- 
self. Have you read his book ? " 

"Ye-es, I have," answered Arthur, in a rather dubious tone. 
"Have you?" 

"No; for I couldn't," candidly avowed Roland. "I waded 
through nearly one volume, and it was a task. It was im- 
possible to make head or tail of it. I know I'm different from 
other folk, have not half the gumption in me I ought to have, 
and don't judge of things as they do, which is all through 
having gone to Port Natal ; but /thought the book a rubbish- 
ing book, Arthur, and a bad one into the bargain. Where's the 
use of writing a book if people can't read it ? " 

" Did you read the reviews on it ? " 

" Oh law 1 " I've heard enough about them. Had they been 
feathers, Ger would have stuck them in his cap. And he 
pretty nearly did. I'll tell you what book I read — and cried 



ARRIVING AT EUSTON SQUARE. 2^5 

over it too — and got up from it feeling better and happier — and 
that's Hamish's." 

A glad hght shone in Arthur Channing's honest grey eyes. 
"When I read that book, I felt thankful that a man should 
have been found to write it," he said in hushed tones. " I 
should have felt just the same had he been a stranger to me." 

" Ay, indeed : it was something of that sort I meant to say. 
And I wish all the world could read it ! " added impulsive 
Roland. 

'• And did you read the reviews on it ? " 

" Oh my goodness," cried Roland, a blank look taking the 
place of his enthusiasm. "Arthur, do you know, if those 
horrible reviews come across my mind when I am up at 
Hamish's, my face goes hot with shame. I've never said a 
syllable about them on my own score : I shouldn't like to do 
so. When I get rich, I mean to go against the papers for 
libel." 

" We cannot understand it down with us," said Arthur. " On 
the Saturday night that William Yorke returned to Hclstonleigh 
after attending your uncle's funeral, I met him at the station. 
He had the Snarler with him — and told me before he'd let 
me open it, that it contained a most disgraceful attack on 
Hamish's book ; in fact, on Hamish himself. Putting aside all 
other feeling when I read it, my astonishment was excessive." 

Roland relieved his feelings by a few stamps, and it was 
well that the cab was a pretty strong one. " If I could find 
out the writer, Arthur, I'd have him ducked." 

"That review was followed by others, all in the same strain, 
just as bad as it is possible for reviews to be made." 

" The wicked old reptiles 1 " interjected Roland. 

"What struck me as being rather singular in the matter, was 
this," observed Arthur : " that the self-same journals which so 
extravagantly and wrongly praised Gerald's work, just as 
extravagantly and wrongly abused Hamish's. It would seem 
to me that there must have been some plot, to write up Gerald 
and write down Hamish. But how the public can submit to 
be misled by reviewers in this manner, and not rise against it, 
I cannot understand." 

"If those were not the exact words of old Greatorex!" 
exclaimed Roland. " He read both books and all the reviews. 
It was a sin and a shame, and a puzzle, he said ; a humbug 
altogether, and he should like, for the satisfaction of his own 



256 ROLAND YORKE. 

curiosity, to be behind the scenes in the performance. But 
what else do you think he said, Arthur ? " 

"I don't know." 

" That the reviews and the books would find their level in 
the end. It was impossible, he declared, that Gerald's book 
could live ; all the fulsome praises in Christendom could not 
make it : just as it was impossible for such a work as the other 
to be written out ; it would be sure to find its way with the 
public eventually. Annabel told me that ; and I went off the 
same evening to Hamish and told him. He and old Greatorex 
are first-rate friends." 

" What did Hamish say ? " 

" Oh, nothing. He just smiled in his sad way, and said 
' Yes, perhaps it might be,' as if the words made no impression 
on him." 

" Why do you say * his sad way ? ' Hamish always had the 
sweetest and gayest smile in the world. We used, if you re- 
member, to call him sunny Hamish." 

"I know. But somehow he has altered, Arthur. He was 
changing a little before, seemed thoughtful and considerate 
instead of gay and light; but that was nothing to the way he 
has changed lately. I wouldn't say it to any soul but you, old 
Arthur, not even to Annabel, but my belief is just this — that 
the reviews have done it." 

" The reviews ! " 

Roland nodded. " Taken the shine out of him for a time. 
Oh, he'll come-to again soon ; never fear. All the sooner if I 
could find out who the snake was, and kick him." 

" We cannot judge for others ; we cannot put ourselves in 
their places," observed Arthur. " Or else it seems to me that, 
after producing such a book as Hamish's, I should rest on its 
obvious merits, and be little moved by what adverse friends 
could say." 

" I'm sure they wouldn't move me," avowed candid Roland. 

"The newspapers might take hold of all my flounderings 
at Port Natal, and print them for public benefit in big type 
to-morrow, and direct a packet to A..nnabel. What should I 
care ? I say, how about poor Charley ? He has been ill." 

"Very ill. They have given him six months' leave, and 
paid his passage out and home." 

" And how much leave have you got for London, Arthur? " 

" That depends on Charley. If he comes straight on from 



ARRIVING AT EUSTON SQUARE. 28; 

Marseilles, he may be here in a day or two : but should his 
health have improved on the voyage, he will probably make a 
stay in Paris. I am to wait here for him until he comes, 
Galloway says." 

" Very condescending of Galloway ! I dare say he has given 
you plenty of business to do as well, Arthur." 

" That's true," laughed Arthur. " I shall be engaged for 
him all day to-morrow ; and have some small accounts to settle 
for him amongst other things." 

" Where's the money ? " asked Roland, resentfully. 

Arthur touched the breast-pocket of his under-coat. "I 
have brought it up with me." 

" Then I devoutly hope you'll get robbed of it to-night, 
Arthur, to serve him out ! It is a shame ! Taking up the 
little bit of time you've got in London with his work ! That's 
Galloway all over ! I meant to get holiday myself, that we 
might go about together." 

" Plenty of time for that, Roland." 

"I hope so. I've something to tell you. It's about 
Annabel. But we are close to Mrs. Yorke's, so I'll not go 
into the thing now. Oh ! and, Arthur, old chum, I'm so 
vexed, so ashamed, I shan't know how to look you in the face." 

"Why not?" 

" I've no money about me to pay the cab. It's a shilling. 
It's awfully lowering, having to meet friends with empty 
pockets. I should like to have met you with a carriage-and- 
four, and outriders; I should like to have a good house to 
bring you into, Arthur, and I've nothing." 

Arthur's good, earnest eyes fixed themselves on him with 
all their steady affection. " You have yourself, Roland, dear 
old friend. You know that's all I care for. As to funds, I 
am rich enough to pay for you and myself though I stayed here 
for a month." 

" It's uncommonly mortifying, nevertheless, Arthur. It 
makes a fellow wish to be back again at Port Natal. Mother 
Jenkins has two sovereigns of mine, but I never thought of it 
before I came out." 

The cab stopped at Mrs. Gerald Yorke's door, and Roland 
dashed up with the prize. Mrs. Yorke sat with her youngest 
child on her lap, the other two little ones being on the carpet. 
Roland could hardly see them in the dusk of the room. 

'* It's grapes," said he, "from Lady Augusta. Arthur Chan- 



288 ROLAND YORKE. 

ning says she sent them for Gerald. If I were you, Mrs. Yorke, 
I should feed the three chickens on them, and just tell Gerald 
I had done it. Halloa ! what's the matter now ? " 

For Mrs. Yorke broke out in tears. " It was so lonely," she 
said by way of excuse. " Gerald was nearly always away. 
To-night he had a dinner and wine party in his chambers." 

"Then I'm downright glad I didn't deposit the grapes 
there," was Roland's comment. "As to Gerald's leaving you 
always alone, Mrs. Yorke, I should just ask him whether he 
called that manners. I don't. Good gracious me ! If I were 
rich enough to have a wife, and played truant from her, I 
should deserve hanging. Cheer up ; it will all come right ; 
and you'd say so if you had tried the ups and downs of Port 
Natal. Fredy, Kitty, Rosy, you little pussy cats, tell mamma 
to give you some grapes." 

" I'm sure I wouldn't dare to touch the basket, though the 
grapes remained there till they were rotten," was the last 
sobbing sound from Mrs. Yorke that caught Roland's ears as 
he leaped downstairs. 

Their appearance at Hamish's was unexpected — for Arthur 
had advertised himself to Roland only — but not the less wel- 
come. Of course Hamish and his wife thought that Arthur 
had come to be their guest, and were half inclined to resent it 
when he said no. He had arranged to take up his sojourn at 
a private hotel in Norfolk Street, where he had stayed before ; 
his room had been engaged for some days, and Charles would 
drive to it on his arrival in London. All this was explained at 
once. And in the pleasure his presence brought, Hamish 
Channing seemed quite like his own gay self again ; his face 
bright, his voice glad, his whole manner charming. 

But later, when the excitement had worn itself away, and 
he calmed down to sobriety and ordinary looks, Arthur sat 
with hushed breath, half petrified at the change he saw. Even 
Roland, never famous for observation, could but mark it. As 
if the recent emotion were taking its revenge, the change in 
Hamish Channing seemed very, very marked to-night. The 
hollow face, the subdued voice with its hopeless ring, the feverish 
cheek and hand — all were sad to hear, to feel, to look upon. 

It was only a brief visit ; Arthur did not stay. He wanted 
to see about his room, and had one or two purchases to make ; 
and he also expected to find letters at the hotel to answer. He 
promised to dme with them on the morrow, and to give them 



ARRIVING AT EUStOK SQUARE. 28^ 

as much time as he could during his stay, which might possibly 
last a fortnight, he laughingly acknowledged, if Mr. Charley 
prolonged his stay in Paris ; as he was not unlikely to do if well 
enough. " So you'll probably have too much of me, Hamish," 
he concluded, as they shook hands. 

" Roland, he is strangely altered," were the first words 
spoken by Arthur, when they went out together. 

"Didn't I tell you so?" replied Roland. "It is just what 
strikes me." 

Arthur walked on in silence, saying no more of what he 
thought. It was just as if the heart's life had gone out of 
Hamish ; as if some weight of pain, that would never be Hfted, 
lay on the spirit. 

They walked to the Strand, and there Arthur made some 
small purchases, rendered necessary by the non-arrival of his 
portmanteau. It was striking eight by St. Mary's Church 
as Roland stood with him at the door of the hotel in Norfolk 
Street. 

" These letters that you expect and that you have to answer," 
said he, resentfully, for he thought Arthur's whole time ought to 
be given to himself on this, their first evening, " what are they? 
who are they from ? " 

" Only from Galloway's agents, and one or two more busi- 
ness people. I expect they will make appointments with me 
for to-morrow, or ask me to make them. There may be a 
letter from Galloway himself. I left Helstonleigh an hour 
before the day-mail, and I may have to \\Tite to him." 

Roland growled ; he thought himself very ill-used. 

" It is only eight o'clock, Arthur, and I've said as good as 
nothing to you. All you've got to do won't take you more 
than an hour. Can't you come up at nine to my lodgings ? 
You'd have the felicity of seeing Mrs. J." 

" I fear not to-night, Roland." 

They talked a little longer, shook hands, and Arthur went 
into the hotel. Roland, turning away, decided to air himself 
in the Strand for an hour, then return to the hotel and get 
Arthur to come home with him. He had not the smallest objec- 
tion taking it in the abstract, to spend his time before the shop 
windows. Roland liked the pastime of looking in. Debarred 
from purchasing by the state of his exchequer, the next best 
thing was to gaze at all the charming objects so cunningly 
displayed. 

Roland Yorkc- 19 



290 ROLAND YORKE. 

Wandering up and down, he had reached the other side 
of Temple Bar, and was looking in at a shop window, when 
the clock of St. Clement Danes struck nine. Springing back 
impulsively with its first stroke, Roland came into awkward 
Contact with some one, bearing on towards the Strand. But 
the gentleman, who was as tall as himself, seemed scarcely to 
hotice the interruption, so absorbed was he in his own thoughts. 
He put out one of his hands, cased in a lavender glove of 
delicate hue, and slightly put the intruder aside, but took no 
further heed. The face was never turned, the eyes never 
diverted from their direct, far-off glance. Onward he passed, 
seeing and hearing nothing. 

" What on earth has he been up to ? — Looked as scared as 
though he had met a ghost ! " mentally commented Roland 
with his usual freedom, as he stared after the wayfarer. For he 
had recognized Mr. Bede Greatorex. 

He did not suffer speculation to detain him. Taking to his 
heels with the last stroke of the clock, Roland gained the 
small hotel in Norfolk Street ; into which he bolted head fore- 
most, with his usual clatter, haste, and want of ceremony, and 
nearly fell into the arms of a tall waiter. 

" I want Mr. Arthur Channing. Which is his room ? " 
" Mr. Arthur Channing is gone out, sir," 
" Gone out ! " 

" Yes, sir. Some time ago." 

" Found he had no letters to write, and so went on 
to me," thought Roland, as he shot out again. "And I 
have been cooling my heels in this precious street, like a 
booby ! " 

At full speed went he home now, through all the cross-cuts 
and nearest ways he knew, never slackening for a moment ; 
arriving hot and breathless. Seizing the knocker in one hand 
and the bell in the other, he worked at both until the door 
was opened. Mr. Ollivera, flinging up his window above, put 
out his alarmed head ; Mrs. Jones, Miss Rye, two visitors, 
and Betsy the maid, came rushing down the passage with pale 
faces, Mrs. J. herself opening the door, Betsy absolutely refus- 
ing the office. Roland, without explanation or apology, 
dashed through the group into the parlour. It was dark and 
empty. 

'• Where's Arthur Channing ? " he demanded, darting out 
again. " Mrs. T., where have you put him ? " 



A PRIVATE INTERVIEW. 29I 

And when Mrs. J. could sufficiently gather-in the sense of 
the question to answer it, Roland had the satisfaction — or, 
rather dissatisfaction — of finding that Arthur Channing had 
never been there. 



CHAPTER III. 

A PRIVATE INTERVIEV/. 



" Private and Confidential. 

" Cuff Court, off Fleet Street. No. i, 

" October the twenty-second. 
" Mr. Bede Greatorex. 

" Sir, — A small leaf has been turned over in the matter of 
your cheque, mysteriously lost in June last. Leastways in 
something that might turn out to be connected with it. Re- 
membering back orders, and wishing to act in accordance 
with the same, I should be glad to hold a short interview with 
you, and would wait upon you at any hour or place you may ap- 
point. Or if it suited your convenience to come to me, I am 
to be found as above, either this evening or to-morrow evening 
after seven o'clock. 

" Your obedient servant, 

"Jonas Butterbv." 

The above note, amongst two or three other letters, reached 
Mr. Bede Greatorex about four o'clock in the afternoon. He 
happened to be at his desk in the front room, and was giving 
some directions to Mr. Brown, who stood by him. As Bede 
ran his eyes over the lines, a frown, a deep flush, followed by 
a sickly paleness, overspread his face. Mr. Brown, looking at 
him quite by accident, remarked the signs of emotion, and felt 
curious to know what news could have caused it. He had, 
however, no opportunity for prolonged observation, for Bede, 
carrying the letter in his hand, went into his room and shut 
the door. 

The note angered as well as troubled Bede Greatorex. 
Who was this Butterby, that he should be continually disturb- 
ing his peace ? What brought the man to London ? — He had 



292 ROLAND YORKE. 

gone back to Helstonleigh in the summer, and had never, so 
far as Bede knew, come up from it since. Was he, Bede, ere 
he had been home a couple of weeks from his Continental 
hoUday, to be followed up by this meddling detective, and 
his life worried again? In the moment's angry impulse, 
Bede sat down to his desk, and began dashing off an answer, 
to the effect that he could not accord Mr, Butterby an in- 
terview. 

But the pen was arrested ere it had completed the first line. 
Self-preservation from danger is a feeling implanted more or 
less strongly within us all. What if this persistent officer, 
denied to him, betook himself and his news to Mr. Greatorex ? 
Bede was as innocent in regard to the purloined cheque and 
certainly as ignorant of the really guilty party as Butterby 
could be ; he had refi: ided the forty-four pounds with anything 
but gratification ; but nevertheless there were grave reasons 
why the matter should lot be reopened to his father. 

Catching up the letter, he paced the room for a moment 
or two in deep thought ; halted by the window, and read it 
again. " Yes, I'll see him ; it will be safer," said he, with 
decision. 

He wrote a rapid note, appointed eleven o'clock the next 
morning for the interview at his own office. And then again 
paused as he was folding it ; paused and deliberated. 

" Why not go to him ? " spoke Bede Greatorex, his eyes 
fixed on the opposite wall, as if he thought the map there 
could solve the query. "Yes, I will ; I'll go to-night. That's 
safest of all." 

Noting down the address, he held Mr. Butterby's letter 
and his own answers, perfect and imperfect, over the grate, 
lighted a match, and reduced them to ashes. There was no 
fire ; the weathei was uncertain, warm to-day, cold to-morrow, 
and the fire was sometimes allowed to go out in a morning as 
soon as lighted. 

Evening came. And at ten-minutes past seven Bede 
Greatorex was on the search for Mr. Butterby. " Cuff Court, 
Off Fleet Street." He did not know Cuff Court ; and sup- 
posed that " Off Fleet Street " might indicate some turning 
beginning in that well-known thoroughfare, and ending it was 
hard to say where. Bede, however, by dint of inquiry found 
Cuff Court at last. No. i had the appearance of a small 
private house ; and was so in fact. The great Butterby gene- 



A PRIVATE INTERVIEW. 293 

rally lodged there when he came to town. The people re- 
siding in it were connections of his and accommodated him ; it 
was, as he remarked, " convenient to places." 

Bede was shown upstairs to a small sitting-room. At a 
square table, examining some papers taken from his pocket- 
book, by the light of two gas-burners overhead, sat Jonas 
Butterby ; the same thin wiry man as ever, in apparently the 
same black coat, plaid trousers, and buttoned-up waistcoat ; 
with the same green, observant eyes, and silent lips. He 
pushed the papers and pocket-book into a heap when his 
visitor appeared, and rose to receive him. 

" Take a seat, sir," he said, handing a chair by the hearth 
opposite his own, and stirring the fire in the grate. "You 
don't object to this, I hope ? It's hardly fire-time yet, but a 
morsel looks cheery at night." 

" I like it," said Bede. He placed his hat on a side-table, 
and unbottoned a thin overcoat he wore, as he sat down, but 
did not take off his lavender gloves. It had always struck Mr. 
Butterby that Bede Greatorex was one of the finest and most 
gentlemanly men he knew, invariably well dressed. It had 
struck him in that far-off time at Helstonleigh, when they met 
over John Ollivera's death-chair, and it struck him still. But 
he was looking ill, worn, anxious ; and the detective, full of 
observation by habit, could not fail to see it. 

" I'm uncommon glad you've come in, Mr. Bede Greatorex. 
From a fresh turn some business I'm engaged on has took to- 
day, I'm not sure but I shall have to go back to Helstonleigh the 
first thing in the morning. Shall know by late post to-night." 

"Are you living in London ?" 

" Not I. I come up to it only yesterday, expecting to stop 
a week or so. Now I find I may have to go back to-morrow : 
the chances is about equal one way and t'other. But if I do, I 
should not have got to see you this time, sir, and must have 
come up again for it." 

"I felt very much inclined to say I wouldn't see you," 
answered Bede, candidly. " We are busy just now, and I 
would a great deal rather drop the whole affair relating to the 
cheque, than be at the trouble of raking it up again. The loss 
of the money has been ours, and, of course, '.v.; must put up 
with it. I began a note to you to this effect ; but it struck me 
while I was writing that you might possibly carry your news to 
my father," 



294 ROLAND YORKE. 

" No, I shouldn't have done that. It concerns you, so to 
say, more than him. Been well lately, Mr. Bede Greatorex ? " 

" As well as I usually am. Why ? " 

" Well, sir, you are looking, if I might make bold to say it, 
something like a shadder. Might a'most see through you." 

" I have been doing too much lately. Mrs. Bede Greatorex 
and myself were on the Continent for two months, rushing 
about from country to country, and from place to place, seeing 
the wonders, and taking what the world calls a holiday. It is 
more wearing than any hard work," Bede condescended to 
explain, but in rather haughty tones, for he thought it did not 
lie in the detective's legitimate province to offer remarks upon 
himself. *' In regard to business, Mr. Butterby ; unless you 
have anything very particular to communicate, I would rather 
uot hear it. Let the affair die out." 

" But I should not be doing my duty either way, to you or 
to me, in letting it die out," returned Butterby. " If anything 
worse turned up later, I might get called over the coals for it at 
head-quarters." 

"Be so good as to hasten over what you have to say, then," 
said Bede, taking out his watch and looking at it with anything 
but marked courtesy. 

It produced no effect on Mr, Butterby. If his clients chose 
to be in a hurry, he rarely was. But in his wide experience, 
bringing, as he generally did, all keen observation to bear upon 
his work, he felt convinced of one thing — that the gentleman 
before him dreaded the communication he had to make, and, 
for that reason and no other, wished to shun it. 

" When that cheque was lost in the summer, Mr. Bede 
Greatorex, you did me the honour to put a little matter into my 
hands, confiding to me your opinion that one of your clerks 
must have stolen it, if not on his own score, on somebody 
else's that he was acting for. You asked me to give an eye 
privately to the four. Not having had any satisfactory news 
from me up to the present time, you have perhaps thought that 
I have been neglecting the charge, and let it fall through." 

"Oh, if it concerns thefn, I shall be glad to hear you!" 
briskly spoke Bede Greatorex ; and to the acute ear listening, 
the tone seemed to express relief as well as satisfaction. 
" Have you found out that one of them did take it? " 

" Not exactly. What I have found out, though, tells me 
that it is not improbable." 



A PRIVATE INTERVIEW. 295 

" Go on, please," said Bede, impatiently. " Was it Hurst ? " 

" Now, don't jump to hasty conclusions, Mr. Bede Greato- 
rex ; and you must just pardon me for giving you the advice. 
It's a good rule to observe in all cases ; and if you'd been in 
my branch of the law as long as I have, you wouldn't need to 
be told it. My own opinion was, that young Hurst was not 
one to help himself to money, or anything else that wasn't his ; 
but of course when you " 

" Stop an instant," interrupted Bede Greatorex, starting up 
as a thought occurred to him, and looking round in alarm. 
" This house is small, the walls are no doubt thin j can we be 
overheard?" 

'' You may sit down again in peace, sir," was the phlegmatic 
answer. " It was a child of twelve, or so, that showed you up, 
wasn't it ? " 

"Yes." 

" Well, except her, and her missis — who is as deaf as a post, 
poor thing, though she is my cousin — there's not a living soul 
in the house. The husband and son never get home till ten. 
As to the walls, they are seven times thicker than some modern 
ones, for the old house was built in good old substantial days. 
And if not — trust me for being secure and safe, and my 
visitors too, wherever I may be, Mr. Bede Greatorex." 

" It was for Hurst's sake I spoke," said Bede, as a rather 
lame apology. " It may suit me to hush it up, even though 
you tell me he is guilty." 

" When you desired me to look after your clerks, and gave 
me your reasons — which I couldn't at first make top or tail of, 
and am free to confess have not got to the bottom of yet — 
my own judgment was that young Hurst was about the least 
likely of all to be guilty," pursued the officer, in his calmest 
and coolest manner. " However, as you persisted in your 
opinion, I naturally gave in to it, and looked up Hurst effec- 
tually. Or got him looked up ; which amounts to the same 
thing." 

"Without giving any hint of my reasons for it?" again 
anxiously and imperatively interrupted Bede Greatorex. And 
it nettled the detective. 

" I should like to ask you a question, Mr. Bede Greatorex, 
and to have it answered, sir. Do you think I should be fit for 
my post unless I had more 'cute discretion about me than 
ordinary folks, such as — excuse rne — you ? Why, my whole 



29^ ROLAND YOPKE. 

work, pretty nigh, is made up of ruses and secrecy, and sending 
people off on wrong scents. Says I to my friend — him that 
I sets about the job — ' that young Mr. Hurst has been making 
an undesirable acquaintance, quite innocent, lately ; he may 
get drawn into unpleasant consequences before he knows it ; 
and as I've a respect for his father, a most skilful doctor of 
physic, I should like to warn the young man in time, if there's 
danger. You just turn him inside out ; watch all he does and 
all he doesn't do, and let me know.' Well, sir, Hurst was 
turned inside out, so to say. If we'd stripped him of his 
skin, we couldn't have seen more completely into his in'ard 
self and his doings than we did see ; and the result was, that 
I was right and you were wrong. He had no more hand in 
taking that there cheque, or in any other part of the matters 
you hinted at, than this pocket-book of mine had. And when 
I tell you that, Mr. Bede Greatorex, you may believe it." 

A short silence ensued. Bede Greatorex's left elbow rested 
on the table ; his hand, the glove off now, was pressing his 
temple as if in thought, the costly diamond ring on his little 
finger flashing in the gas-light. His mother had given the 
ring to him when she was dying, expressing a hope that he 
would wear it always in remembrance of her. It appeared to 
Bede almost as a religious duty to obey, though few men 
hated personal ornaments so much as he. His eyes were fixed 
on the fire ; Mr. Butterby's on him. 

" Well, Mr. Greatorex, Hurst being out of the field, I 
naturally went on to the others. Jenner I never suspected 
at all ; 'twas not him ; and I felt morally sure, in spite of his 
impudence to me, that this time it was not Roland Yorke, 
Notwithstanding, I looked a little after both those gents ; and 
I found that it was not either of 'em." 

" What do you mean by ' this time ' in connection with Mr. 
Yorke ? " inquired Bede, catching up the words, which, perhaps, 
had slipped out inadvertently. 

Bulterby coughed. But he was not a bad man at heart, and 
had no intention of gratuitously doing damage even to impu- 
dent Roland. 

" Oh well, come, Mr. Bede Greatorex — a young fellow who 
has been out on the spec to Port Natal, seeing all sorts of life, 
is more likely, you know, to tumble into scrapes than steady 
voung fellows v/ho have never been let go beyond their 
mocner's apron-strings." 



A PRIVATE INTERVIEW. 257 

• -True," assented Bede Greatorex. "But in spite of his 
travelling experiences, Roland Yorke appears to me to be one 
of the most unsophisticated young men I know. In the ways 
of a bad world he is as a very boy." 

" He is just one of them shallow-natured, simple-minded 
chaps that never will be bad," pronounced Butterby, " except 
in the matter of impudence. He has got enough of that to 
set up trading in Cheapside. What he'd have been, but for 
having got pulled up by an unpleasant check or two, I'm not 
prepared to say. Well, sir, them three being disposed of — 
Hurst, Jenner, and Yorke — there remained only J.Ir. Brown, 
your manager. And it is about him I've had the honour to 
solicit an interview with you." 

Bede turned his eyes inquiringly from the fire to !Mr. 
Butterby. 

^' You said from the first you did not suspect Mr. Brown. 
No more did I. You thought it couldn't be him. He has 
been some years with you, and his honesty and faithfulness 
had been sufficiently tested. I'm sure I had no reasons to 
think otherwise, except one. Which was this : I could not 
find out anything about Mr. Brown prior to some three or 
four years back. His appearance on the stage of life, so to 
say, seemed to date from then. However, sir, by your leave, 
we'll put Brown aside for a minute, and go on to other 
people." 

Mr. Butterby paused almost as though he expected his 
hearer to give the permission in words. Bede said nothing, 
only waited in evident curiosity, and the other resumed. 

" There was a long-established firm in Birmingham, Johnson 
and Teague. Accountants ostensibly, but did a little in bill- 
broking and what not; honest men, well thought of, very 
respectable. Johnson (who had succeeded his father) was a 
man under forty ; Teague was old. Old Teague had never 
married, but he had a great-nephew, in the office, Samuel 
Teague ; had brought him up, and loved him as the apple of 
his eye. A nice young fellow in public, a spendthrift in 
private ; that's what Sam Teague was. His salary was two- 
hundred a year, and he lived free at his uncle's residence, out- 
side Birmingham. His spendings were perhaps four-hundred 
beyond the two. Naturally he came to grief. Do you take 
me, Mr. Bede Greatorex ? " 

" Certainly." 



298 ROLAND YORKE. 

" In the office, one of its clerks, was a young man named 
George Winter. A well-brought-up young fellow too, honest 
by nature, trusted, and thought much of. He and young 
Teague were uncommonly intimate. Now, how much blame 
was due to Winter I'm not prepared to say ; but when Samuel 
Teague, to save himself from some bother, forged a bill on the 
office, and got it paid by the office, Winter was implicated. 
He'd no doubt say, if you asked him, that he was drawn into 
it innocently ; did say it in fact ; but he had been the one to 
hand over the money, and the firm and the world looked upon 
him as the worst of the two. When the fraud was discovered, 
young Teague decamped. Winter, in self-defence and to 
avert consequences, went straight the same afternoon, which 
was a Saturday, to old Teague's private residence, and there 
made a clean breast of young Teague's long course of mis- 
doings. It killed old Teague." 

" Killed him ! " repeated Bede, for the detective paused. 

" Yes, sir, killed him. He had looked upon his nephew up 
to that time as one of the saints of this middle world ; and 
the shock of finding him more like an angel of the lower one 
touched old Teague's heart in some vital spot, and killed him. 
He had a sort of fit, and died that same night. The next day, 
Sunday, young Winter was missing. It was universally said 
that he had made his way to Liverpool, in the track of Samuel 
Teague — for that's where folks thought he had gone — with a 
view of getting away to America. Both were advertised for ; 
both looked upon as criminal. It was for such a paltry sum 
they had perilled themselves — only a little over one-hundred 
pounds ! Time went on, and neither of 'em was ever traced. 
Perhaps Mr. Johnson, when he had cooled down from his first 
anger, was willing to let Sam Teague be, for the old man's 
sake, and so did not press the search. Any way, Samuel 
Teague is now openly in business in New York, and doing well." 

"And the other — Winter?" 

"Ah, it's him I'm coming to," significantly resumed Mr, 
Butterby. " It seems that Winter never went after him at all. 
In the fright of finding old Teague had died, and that no 
quarter was to be expected from Johnson (as it wasn't then) he 
took a false name, put on false hair and whiskers, and stole 
quietly off by the train on Sunday afternoon, carrying a shirt or 
two in a blue bag. It was to Helstonleigh he went, Mr. Bede 
Qreatorex, and he called hiniself Godfrey Pitman." 



A PRIVATE INTERVIEW. 299 

Bede Greatorex started from his seat. Up to that point he 
had been perfectly calm ; interested of course, but as if in 
something that did not concern him. 

" Yes, sir, Godfrey Pitman. The same that was in Mrs. 
Jones's house at the time of Mr. Ollivera's death ; the man 
that Helstonleigh made so much mystery of; who was, so 
to say, accused of the murder. And Godfrey Pitman, sir, 
or George Winter, whichever you may please to call him, is 
one and the same with your managing-clerk, Mr. Brown I " 

" No ! " shouted Bede Greatorex. 

" I say YES, sir. The very self-same man." 

Bede Greatorex, looking in a sort of wild manner, over Mr, 
Butterby's head at the opposite wall, seemed to be revolving 
various speculations connected with the disclosure. 

" Why, Brown has always " He brought the words to a 

sudden conclusion. "Brown has always unpleasantly puzzled 
me," had been on the tip of his tongue. But the words died 
away unspoken, and a sickly hue overspread his features. 
Taking his eyes from the wall and turning them to the fire, he 
sat as before, his brow pressed on his fingers, quite silent, after 
the manner of a man who is dreaming. 

" I see the disagreeable doubt that is working within you, 
Mr. Bede Greatorex," remarked the observant detective, upon 
whom not a sign was lost. " You are ready to say now it was 
Pitman who did that there deed at Helstonleigh." 

"How did you find out all this about him?" asked Bede 
Greatorex. 

" Well, I got a clue accidental. Don't mind saying so. I 
was about some business lately for a gentleman in Birmingham, 
named Foster, and in a packet of letters he put into my hand 
to look over, I found a note from George Winter, written from 
your office this past summer. It was just one of those curious 
chances that don't happen often ; for Foster had no notion 
that the letter was there, thought he had destroyed it. It was 
but a line or two, and of no moment, but it showed me that 
Mr. Brown and George Winter was the same man, and I soon 
wormed out his identity with Godfrey Pitman." 

" Johnson and Co. will be for prosecuting him, I suppose ? " 
observed Bede, still as if he were dreaming. 

" No," said Mr. Butterby. " I've seen Johnson and Co. : 
leastways Johnson, In regard to that past transaction of theirs, 
his opinion has changed, and he thinks that Winter, though 



300 ROLAND YORKE. 

very careless, and unpardonably blind as to the faith he 
reposed in Samuel Teague, had not himself any guilty know- 
ledge of the matter. Any way, Winter has been doing what 
he can since to repair mischief: been living on a crust and 
working night and day, to transmit sums periodically to John- 
son in an anonymous manner — except that he just let it be 
known they came from him, by giving no clue as to where he 
was, or how he gained them — Vv'ith a view to wiping off the 
money Sam Teague robbed them of. Teague has been doing 
the same from his side the Atlantic," added Mr. Butterby, with 
a knowing laugh j " so that Johnson, as he says, is paid twice 
over." 

" Then they don't prosecute ? " 

" Not a bit of it. And I'm free to confess that, taking in 
all aspects of the affair — Brown's good conduct since then, and 
the probability that Sam Teague was the sole offender — the 
man has shown himself in all ordinary pecuniary interests just 
as honest and trustworthy as here and there one." 

"Did he " Bede Greatorex hesitated, stopped, and 

then went on with his sentence — " take my cheque ? " 

" That must be left to your judgment, sir. I've no cause 
myself to make sure of it. The letter to Foster was written 
about the time that the cheque was lost, or a few days later ; 
it made an allusion to money. Brown saying he was glad to be 
out of his debt, but whether the debt was pounds or shillings, 
I've no present means of knowing. Foster wouldn't answer 
me a syllable ; was uncommonly savage at his own carelessness 
in letting the letter sHp in with the other. Living close and 
working hard, Brown would have money in hand of his own, 
without touching yours, Mr. Bede Greatorex." 

Bede nodded. 

" On the other hand, a man who has lain under a cloud is 
more to be doubted than one who has walked about in the open 
sunshine all his life. The presenter of that cheque at the 
Bank had a quantity of black hair about his face, just as the 
false Godfrey Pitman had on his at Helstonleigh. But it would 
be hardly fair to suspect Brown on that score, seeing there's so 
many faces in London adorned with it naturally." 

Again Bede nodded in acquiescence. 

" Of course, sir, if you choose to put it to the test, you might 
have Mr. Brown's face dressed up for it, and let the Bank see 
him. Anyway, 'twould set the matter at rest," 



A PRIVATE INTERVIEW. 30! 

''No," said Bede, quite sharply. " No, I should not like to 
do it I never thought of Brown in the affair ; never. I — 
can't — don't — think of him now." 

Did he not now think of him ? Butterby, with his keen 
ears, fancied the concluding sentence had a false ring in it. 

" Well, sir, that lies at your own option. I've done my duty 
in making you acquainted with this, but I've no call to stir in 
it, unless you choose to put it officially into my hands. But 
there's the other and graver matter, Mr. Bede Greatorex." 

*' What other? " questioned Bede, turning to him. 

" That at Helstonleigh," said the detective. " All sorts of 
ideas and thoughts — fanciful some of 'em — come crowding 
through my mind at once. I don't say that he had any hand 
in Mr. Ollivera's death ; but it might have been so : and this, 
that has now come out, strengthens suspicion against him in 
some points, and weakens it in others. You remember the 
queer conduct of Alietha Rye at the time, sir — her dream, and 
her show-off at the grave — which I had the satisfaction of 
looking on at myself — and her emotion altogether ? " 

Bede Greatorex replied that he did remember it : also 
remembered that he was unable to understand why it should 
have been so. But he spoke as one whose mind is far away, 
as if the questions bore little interest for him. 

" George Winter and Alietha Rye were sweethearts : she 
used to live in Birmingham before she came to Helstonleigh. 
But for his getting into trouble, they would soon have been 
married." 

" Oh, sweethearts were they," carelessly observed Bede, 
" She is a superior young woman." 

" Granted, sir. But them superior women are not a bit 
wiser nor better than others when their lovers is in question. 
Women have done mad things for men's sakes afore to-day j 
and it strikes me now, that Alietha Rye was just screening 
/«w, fearing he might have done it. I don't see how else her 
madness and mooning is to be accounted for. On the other 
hand, it seems uncommon droll that George Winter, hiding in 
that top room until he could get safely away, should set him- 
self to harm Mr. Ollivera; a man he'd never seen. Which 
was the view I took at the time." 

" And highly improbable," murmured Bede. 

" Well, so I say; and I can't help thinking he'll come out of 
the fiery ordeal unscorched." 



^62 kOLAKD YORKE. 

" What ordeal ? " 

'• The charge of murder, Mr. Greatorex is safe to give hiir^ 
into custody upon it. I don't know that the Grand Jury 
would find a true bill." 

Suddenly Bede's face took a ghastly look of fear. It 
startled even the detective, as it was turned sharply upon him. 
And the voice in which he spoke was harsh and commanding. 

" This must not be suffered to come to the knowledge of 
my father." 

" Not suffered to come to his knowledge ! " echoed But- 
terby, agape with wonder. 

" No, NO ! You must not let him know that Brown is 
Godfrey Pitman. He must never be told that Pitman is 
found." 

" Why, Heaven bless you, Mr. Bede Greatorex ! my honour 
has been engaged all along in the tracing out of Pitman, 
That one man has given me more in'ard trouble than any 
three. We detectives get hold of mortifying things as well as 
other people, and that's been one of mine. Now that I have 
trapped Pitman, I can't let the matter drop : and I'm sure Mr. 
Greatorex won't." 

Bede looked confounded. He opened his mouth to speak, 
and closed it again. 

"And if us two was foolish enough, there's another who 
wouldn't; that would almost make us answer for it with our 
lives," resumed the detective, in low, impressive tones — "and 
that is Parson Ollivera." 

"I tell you, Butterby, this must be hushed up," repeated 
Bede, his agitation unmistakable, his voice strangely hollow. 
" It must be hushed up at any cost. Do nothing." 

"And if the parson finds Pitman out for himself ?" asked 
Butterby, his deep green eyes, shaded by their overhanging 
eyebrows, looking out steadily at Bede. 

" That is a contingency we have nothing to do with yet. 
Time enough to talk of it when it comes." 

" But, Mr. Bede Greatorex, if Pitman really was the " 

" Hush ! Hush ! " interrupted Bede, glancing round involun- 
tarily, as if afraid of the very walls. " For Heaven's sake, 
Butterby, let the whole thing drop ; now and for ever. There 
are interests involved in it that I cannot speak of — that must 
at all risks be kept from my father. I wish I could unburthen 
myself of the whole complication, and lay the matter bare before 



A PRIVATE INTERVIEW. 363 

J'ou ; but I may not bring trouble on other people. To accuse 
Pitman would — would reopen wounds now partially healed ; it 
might bring worse than death amongst us." 

It truly seemed, bending over the table in his earnestness, 
that Bede was longing to pour out the confidence he dared not 
give. Butterby, revolving sundry speculations in his mind, never 
took his eyes for an instant from the eager face. 

"Answer me one question, Mr. Bede Greatorex — an' you 
don't mind doing it. If you knew that Pitman was the slayer 
of your cousin, would you still screen him ? " 

" If I knew — if I thought that Pitman had done that evil 
deed, I would be the first to hand him over to justice," spoke 
Bede, breathing quickly. "I feel sure he did not do it." 

Butterby paused. " Sir, as you have said so much, I think 
you should say a little more. It will be safe. You have, I see, 
some other suspicion." 

" I have always believed that it was ofie person did that 
terrible deed," said Bede, scarcely able to speak from agitation. 
"If — understand me — if it was not an accident, or as the jury 
brought in, why then I think I suspect who and what it really 
was. But it was not Pitman." 

"Can the person be got at?" inquired Butterby. 
I " Not for any practical purpose ; not for accusation." 

" Is it any one of those I've heard mentioned in connection 
with the death ? " 

" No ; neither you nor the world. Let that pass. On my 
word of honour, I say to you, Mr. Butterby, that I feel sure 
Pitman had no hand in the matter. For that reason, and for 
other reasons involved, I wish this information you have given 
me to remain a secret between you and me. I will take my 
own time and opportunity for discharging Mr. Brown. Will 
you promise this ? Should you have incurred costs in any way, 
I will give you my cheque for the amount." 

" There has not been much cost as yet," returned the detec- 
tive, honestly. "We'll let that pass for now. 'V^'hat you ask 
me is difficult, sir, I might get into trouble for it later at head- 
qunrters." 

"Should that turn out to be the case, you can, in self- 
defence, bring forward my injunctions. Say I stopped pro- 
ceedings." 

"Very well," returned Butterby, after a pause of considera- 
tion. "Then for the present, sir, we'll say it shall stand so. 



304 ROLAND YORKE. 

Of course, if the thing is brought to light through othef folks, 
I must be held absolved from my promise." 
" Thank you ; thank you truly, Mr. Butterby." 
Bede Greatorex, the naturally haughty man, condescended 
to shake hands with the detective. Mr. Butterby attended 
him downstairs, and opened the door for him. It was after he 
had gained Fleet Street, that Bede came into contact with the 
shoulders of Roland Yorke, never noticing him, bearing on 
in his all-powerful abstraction, his face worn, anxious, white, 
scared, like that of a man, as Roland took occasion to remark, 
who has met a ghost. 

Back again into his room turned Mr. Butterby, and sat down 
in front of the fire. There, with a hand on either knee, he re- 
called all the circumstances of John Ollivera's death with mental 
accuracy, and went over them one by one. That done, he 
revolved surrounding interests in his silent way, especially the 
words that had just fallen from Bede Greatorex, one single 
sentence, during the whole reverie, escaping his lips. 
" Was Louisa Joliffe out that evening, I wonder ? " 
And the clock of St. Clement Danes had moved on an hour 
and a quarter before he ever lifted his hands or rose from his 
seat. 



CHAPTER IV. 

DISAPPEARED. 

'•' I AM waitiilg for that, Mr. Y^orke." 

But for the presence of Bede Greatorex, who sat at his desk 
in the front office, Roland might have retorted on Mr. Brown 
that he might wait, for he felt in just as bad a humour as it was 
well possible for Roland, or any one else, to feel. Ceasing his 
subdued grumbling to Hurst, who had the gift of listening and 
writing away by steam at one and the same time, Roland's pen 
resumed its task. 

Never, since Roland had joined the house of Greatorex and 
Greatorex, did he remember it to have been so pressed as now, 
as far as Bede's room was concerned. There was a sudden 
rush of work, and hands were short. Little Jenner had been 



DISAPPEARED. 305 

summoned into Yorkshire by the illness of his mother, and Mr. 
Bede Grentorex had kindly said to him, " Don't hurry back if 
you find tier in danger," They could not borrow help from the 
other side, for it happened that a clerk there was also absent. 

Thus it fell out that not only Mr. Brown had to remain in 
the office the previous night until a late hour, but he detained 
Roland as well, besides warning that gentleman that he must 
take twenty-minutes for his dinner at present, and no more. 
This was altogether an intense grievance, considering that 
Roland had purposed to devote a large amount of leisure time 
to Arthur Channing. One whole day, and this one drawing to 
its close, and Roland had not set eyes on Arthur. Since the 
moment when he left him at the door of the hotel in Norfolk 
Street, the last evening but one, Roland had neither seen nor 
heard of him. He was resenting this quite as much as the 
weight of work : for where his heart was really engaged, any- 
thing like slight or neglect wounded it to the core. Somewhat 
of this feeling had set in on the first night. After startling the 
street and alarming the inmates of the house, with the bell and 
knocker, to find that Arthur Channing had left his hotel and 
not come to him, was as a most bitter mortification to Roland. 
He had been kept closely at work ever since, and Arthur had 
not chosen to seek him out. 

Whatever impression might have been made on the mind of 
Bede Greatorex by the police-officer's communication, now 
nearly two days ago, he could not but estimate at its true value 
Mr. Brown's efficiency as a clerk. In an emergency such as 
the present, Mr. Brown did that which i<.oland was fond of 
talking of — put his shoulder to the wheel Whatever the de- 
mands of the office, Mr. Brown showed himself equal to them 
almost in his own person ; this, combined with his very ex- 
cellent administrative qualities, re:-der.d him invaluable to 
Bede Greatorex. In a silent, undemonstrative sort of way, 
Mr. Brown had also for some months past been on the alert to 
watch for those inadvertent mistakes, neglects, forgetfulnesses 
in his master, of which the reader has heard. So far as he was 
able to do it, these were at once silently remedied, and nothing 
was said. Bede detected this : and he knew that many a night 
when Mr. Brown remained overhours in the office, working 
diligently, it was to repair some failure of his. Once, and once 
only, Bede spoke. "Why are you so late to-night, Mr. Brown ?'" 
he asked, upon going into the office close upon ten o'clock and 

Roland Vorke. ^0 



3o6 ROLAND YORKE. 

finding Mr. Brown up to his elbows in work. "I'm getting for- 
ward for the morning, sir," was the manager's quiet answer. 
But Bade, though he said no more, saw that the clerk had 
taken some unhappy error of his in hand, and was toiling to 
remedy it and avert trouble. So that, whatever might be Mr 
Brown's personal sins, Bede Greatorex could scarcely afford to 
lose him. 

Once more, for perhaps the five-hundredth time, Bedc 
glanced from his desk at Mr. Brown opposite. But it was no 
longer necessary to glance at him from any speculative point 
of view; that had been set at rest. The eyes that had so 
mystified Bede Greatorex with an uneasy, puzzled feeling, 
which wholly refused to be solved, tax his memory as he would, 
were at length rendered clear to him. He knew where and on 
what occasion he had seen them : and if he had disliked and 
dreaded them before, he dreaded them ten times more now. 

"Ah, how do you do, Mr. Channing?" 

Bede, leaving his desk, was crossing the office to his private 
room, when Hamish entered. They shook hands, and stood 
talking for a few minutes, not having met since Bede returned 
from his continental tour. Just as a change for the worse in 
Bede had struck Mr. Butterby's keen eye, so, as it appeared, 
did some change in Hamish Channing strike Bede. 

" Are you well ? " he asked. 

" As well as London and hard work will allow me to be," 
replied Hamish, with one of his charming smiles, which really 
was gay and light, in spite of the changed face. " It is of no 
use to dream of green fields and blue waves when we cannot 
get to them, you know." 

"Ay, thafs rest — when you can throw yourself down in the 
one or idly watch the other," remarked Bede. " But to go 
scampering about for a month or two at railroad speed, wears 
out a man more than working on in London, Mr. Channing " 

With a lingering gaze at Hamish's refined face, looking so 
strangely worn, and, so to say, etherealized, Bede passed on to 
his room. Hamish turned to the desk of Hurst and Roland 
Yorke. 

" How are you ?" he asked them. 

"As well as adverse circumstances and cross-grained people 
will let me be," was the reply of Roland, without looking up 
from his writing. 

Hamish laughed. 



DISAPPEARED. 307 

*' Just because I wanted a little leisure just now, I*ve double 
work put on ray shoulders," went on Roland. "You remember 
that time at old Galloway's, Hamish, when Jenkins and Arthur 
were both away together, throwing all the work upon me ? Well, 
we've a second edition of that here." 

"Who is away?" inquired Hamish. 

" Little Jenner. And he is good for three of us any day in 
point of work. The result is, that Mr. Brown " — with a defiant 
nod to the gentleman opposite — " keeps me at it like a slave. 
But for Arthur's being in London, I wouldn't mind some extra 
pressure, I should be glad to oblige, and do it. Not that 
Arthur misses me, if one may judge by appearances," he con- 
tinued in a deeply-injured tone. "I should not be two days 
in a strange place without going to see after hinu'^ 

" Have you not seen Arthur, then ? " inquired Hamish. 

" No, I have not seen him," retorted Roland, with emphasis. 
" He has been too much taken up with you and other friends, 
to think of me. Perhaps he has gone over to Gerald's in- 
terests : and his theory is, that I'm nobody worth knowing. 
Mother Jenkins has had her best gown on for two days, ex- 
pecting him. Live and learn — and confound it all ! Ld have 
backed Arthur Channing, for faith and truth, against the 
world." 

Hamish laughed slightly. Any interlude such as this in 
Roland's generally easy nature, always amused him. 

"You and I and Mrs. Jenkins are in the same box, old 
fellow, for Arthur has not been to me." 

" Oh, hasn't he ? " was Roland's answer, delivered with lofty 
indifference, and an angry shake of the pen, which blotted his 
work all over, "It's a case of Gerald, then. Perhaps he is 
taking him round to the Tower, and the wax-work, and the wild 
beasts — as I thought to do." 

" I expect it is rather a case of business," remarked Hamish. 
" You know what Arthur is : when he has work to do, that every^ 
thing gives way to it. Still I wonder he did not come round 
last night. We waited dinner until half-past seven." 

Roland was occupied in trying to repair the damage he had 
AvilfuUy made, and gave no answer. 

" I came in now to ask you for news of him, Roland. Where 
is he staying ? " 

" He has not even called to see Annabel," broke in Roland. 
" And that I do think shameful." 



3o8 ROLAND YORKE. 

" Where is he staying ? " 

"Staying ! Why in Norfolk Street. He told you where." 

" Yes," assented Haniish, " but he is not staying there. I 
have now come from the hotel." 

"Who says he is not?" 

" The people at the hotel." 

" Oh, they say that, do they ? " retorted Roland, turning his 
resentment on the people in question. "They are nice people 
to keep an hotel." 

" They say he is not there, and has not been there." 

"Then, Hamish, I can tell you that he z> there. Didn't I 
take him down to it that night from your house, and see him 
safe in ? Didn't he order his missing portmanteau to be sent 
there as soon as it turned up ? They had better tell me that he 
is not there ! " 

" What they say is this, Roland. That Arthur went there, 
but left again the same night, never occupying his bed at all : 
and they can give me no information as to where he is staying. 
I did not put many questions, but came off to you, thinking 
you would know his movements." 

" And that is just what I don't know. Arthur has not chosen 
to let me know. He is at the hotel safe enough. Why, he 
was expecting letters and telegrams and all kinds of things 
there ! They have mistaken the name and given you the 
wrong answer." 

Hamish did not think so. He stood in silence, feeling a 
little puzzled. And in that moment a faint shadow, not yet of 
evil, but that something or other Avas wrong, first dawned on 
his mind. 

" I want to find him," said Hamish. " If it turns out that 
he is really not at the hotel and they can give me no informa- 
tion, I shall not know where to look for him or what to think. 
But for your being busy, Roland, I would have asked you to go 
back with me to Norfolk Street," 

Roland looked across at Mr. Brown, an eager light illumining 
his face. He did not ask to go, but it was a strong, silent 
appeal. Not that he had any doubt on the score of Arthur ; 
but a walk to Norfolk Street would prove a very delightful 
interlude to the evening's hard work. No answering look of 
assent did he receive. 

" We should be back in an hour, Brown, and I'd set to work 
like a brick. Or in less than that, if we take a cab," briskly 



DISAPPEARED. 309 

added Roland. " I have some money to pay for one. I've 
gone about since yesterday morning with a sovereign in my 
pocket, on the chance of standing treat for some sights, in case 
I found the chance of going out with Arthur Channing. Didn't 
Mrs. J. read me a lecture on not spending it in waste when she 
handed it over ! " 

" If you would promise to be back within the hour, Mr. 
Yorke, and really set to work with a will, you should go with 
Mr. Channing," was the manager's answer, who had of course 
heard the whole colloquy. In Roland's present restless temper, 
he was likely to retard work more than to advance it, especially 
if denied the expedition to Norfolk Street : as no one knew 
better than Mr. Brown. Roland could work with a will ; and 
no doubt would on his return, if allowed to go. So that it was 
policy to let him do so. 

" Oh, thank you. Brown ; that is generous," said he, grate- 
fully, as he leaped off his stool and took down his hat. " I'll 
work away till morning for you, if it's necessar}', and make no 
mistakes." 

But Arthur was not to be found at the hotel in Norfolk 
Street. And the; tale told there was rather a singular one. Of 
course Roland, darting in in his impetuous way, demanded to see 
Mr. Arthur Channing, and also what they meant by denying 
that he was staying there. The head-waiter came forward in 
the absence of the principal, and gave them the few particulars 
— all he knew — that Hamish had not before stayed to ask. In 
fact, Hamish had thought that Arthur must have become dis- 
satisfied with the hotel and so left it for another. The following 
was the substance of the tale. 

Mr. Arthur Channing had written from Helstonleigh desiring 
that a room should be prepared for him, and that any letters 
addressed to him might be taken care of Upon his arrival 
at the hotel (which must have been when Roland left him 
there) he was informed that his room was ready, and asked 
if he would like to see it. Presently, he answered, and went 
into the coffee-room. The man (the one now telling the 
story) left him reading his letters, after supplying him with 
writing materials, Arthur saying that when he wanted anything 
he w^ould ring. It was a very quiet hotel, not much fre- 
quented at any time ; the three or four people staying in It 
were out that evening, so that Arthur was quite alone. By- 
and-by, the man said, he went in again, and found the room 



3IO ROLAND YORKE. 

empty. From that time they had neither seen nor heard of 
Arthur. 

This was the substance of the account, and it sounded some- 
what incredible. Had Arthur been hke Roland Yorke, given 
to darting about at random, without the smallest concern for 
others, it might have been thought that he had taken himself 
off in a sudden freak ; but Arthur was not likely to do such a 
thing. Hamish stood quietly while he listened : Roland had 
put himself upon a table, and sat there, his long legs 
dangling. 

" I came with him to the door my own self," burst forth 
Roland before the man had well finished his tale, as if that were 
a disputed point. " I watched him come right into it. That 
was at eight o'clock." 

"Yes, sir; it was about that time, sir, that Mr. Arthur 
Channing came in," answered the waiter. 

" And when I came down, an hour later, you told me Mr. 
Arthur Channing had gone out; you know you did," spoke 
Roland, who seemed altogether out of his reckoning at the 
state of affairs, and wanted to blame some one. " You never 
said he had gone for good." 

" Well, sir, but how was I to think he had gone for good ? " 
mildly inquired the waiter. " It has puzzled the house^ sir : 
we don't know what to suppose. Towards eleven o'clock, 
when the gentleman did not come in, I began to think the 
chambermaid must have showed him to his room, being tired, 
perhaps ; but she said she had not, and we went up and found 
the room unoccupied. We have never heard of him at all since, 
gentlemen." 

The shadow grew a little darker to Hamish. He began to 
think all this was very strange. 

" The railway people were to have sent his portmanteau 
here," cried Roland ; who, when much put out, could not 
reason at all, and said anything that came uppermost. 

" Yes, sir, the portmanteau came the next morning, sir. I 
carried it up to his room, and it is there still." 

" What ! unopened ! " exclaimed Hamish. " I mean, has 
Mr. Arthur Chianning not been here to claim it ? " 

" No, sir; it's waiting for him against he do." 

It grew serious now. Whatever abode Arthur might have 
removed to, he would not fail to claim his portmanteau, as 
common sense told Hamish. Roland began to stare. 



DISAPPEARED. 311 

" Have you any idea how long he remained in, writing ? " 
asked Hamish. 

' No, sir. It might have been half-past eight or so, when I 
came back into the room, and found him gone. But I don't 
think he had written at all, sir, for the ink and things was on 
the table just as I placed them ; they didn't seem to have been 
used." 

" Were many letters waiting for him ? " 

" Four or five, sir. And there was a bit of a mishap with 
one of them, for which I am very sorry. In taking them out 
of the rack to give to him, sir, I accidentally overlooked one, 
and left it in, so that Mr. Arthur Channing never had it. It's 
in there now." 

" Be so kind as to bring it to me," 

The man went for the letter, and gave it to Hamish. It 
was in Charles Channing's handwriting, and bore the Mar- 
seilles post-mark. A proof that Charley had arrived there ; 
which was a bit of sunshine for Hamish. 

"I suppose you will not object to my opening this?" 
he said to the man, with a smile, as he took out his card 
and handed it to him. " I am Mr. Arthur Channing's 
brother." 

" Oh, sir ! I can see that by the likeness ; no need to tell 
me," was the answer. " It's all right, sir, I'm sure. These 
other three letters have come since, sir. The big one by this 
morning's post, the other two later." 

The big one, as the man called it, a blue official-looking 
envelope, was in Mr. Galloway's handwriting. Roland knew 
the proctor's seal too well. That one Hamish did not feel at 
liberty to open, but the others he did, and thought the 
circumstances fully justified it Running his eyes over Charles's, 
he found it had been written on board, as the steamer was 
nearing Marseilles. It stated that he was feeling very much 
better for the voyage, and thought of staying quite a week in 
Paris as he came through it. So far, that was good news ; and 
now Hamish opened the other two. 

Each of them, dated that morning, proved to be from a 
separate firm of solicitors in London, and contained a i^w 
brief words of inquiry why Mr. Arthur Channing had not kept 
the appointment with them on the previous day. 

Was Arthur lost, then ? Hamish felt startled. As to poor 
Roland, he could only stare in helpless wonder and openly 



312 ROLAND YORKE. 

lament that he had been such a wicked jackanapes as to 
attribute unkindness to Arthur. 

" When I knew in my heart he was the best and truest man 
the world ever produced, Hamish. Oh ! I am a nice one." 

To remain at the hotel would not help them, for the waiter 
could tell no more. Hamish pointed to the address on his 
card, and they walked away up Norfolk Street in silence. 
Roland broke it as they turned into the Strand, a sound of 
dread in his voice. 

" I say, Hamish ! Arthur had a lot of money about him." 

" A lot of money !" repeated Hamish. 

" Yes, He brought it up from old Galloway. You — you — 
don't think he could have been murdered for it ? " 

"Hush, Roland!" 

"Oh, well! — But the roughs would not mind doing such a 
thing at Port Natal" 



CHAPTER V. 

RESTLESS WANDERINGS. 



The commotion was great. Six days had elapsed since Arthur 
Channing's singular disappearance, and he had never been 
heard of. 

Six days ! In a case of this nature, six days to anxious 
friends seem almost like six weeks. Nay, longer. And, 
while on the topic, it may be well to state that these circum- 
stances, this loss, occurred exactly as they are about to be 
recorded. 

Arthur Channing arrived at Euston Square Station on a 
certain evening, and was met there by Roland Yorke. Later, 
soon after eight o'clock, he went to the hotel in Norfolk Street, 
in v.'hich a room had been engaged for him, and where he had 
stayed before. Roland saw him go in : the waiter received 
him, and left him in the coffee-room reading his letters. 
Upon the waiter's entering the room nearly half-an-hour after, 
he found it empty. A small parcel and an umbrella belonging 
to him were there, but he himself was not there. Naturally 
the waiter concluded that he had merely stepped out for a 



RESTLESS WANDERINGS. 313 

short time. He was mistaken, however. From that moment 
nothing had been seen or heard of Arthur Channing. 

If ever Roland Yorke nearly lost his mind, it was now. 
Strangers thought he must be a candidate for Bedlam. 
Totally neglecting the work of the office, he went tearing 
about like a lunatic. From one place to another, from this 
spot to that, backwards and forwards and round again, strode 
Roland. His aspect was fierce, his hair wild. The chief 
places, at which he halted by turns, were Scotland Yard, 
Waterloo Bridge, and the London docks. The best that 
Roland's fears could suggest was, that Arthur had been 
murdered. Murdered for the sake of the money he had about 
him, and then put quietly out of the way. Waterloo Bridge, 
bearing a reputation for having once been a receptacle for 
mysterious carpet-bags, was of course pitched upon by Roland 
as an ill-omened element in the present tragedy. It had also 
just happened that a man, drowned from one of the bridges, 
had been found in the London docks : having drifted in, no 
doubt, whilst some vessel was entering or leaving. This was 
quite enough for Roland. Morning after morning would find 
him there ; and St. Katharine's Docks, being nearest, sometimes 
had him twice in the day. 

Setting aside Roland's migrations, and his outspoken fears 
of dark deeds, others, interested, were to the full as much 
alarmed as be. The facts were more than singular ; they were 
mysterious. From the time that Arthur Channing had entered 
the hotel in Norfolk Street, or — to be strictly correct — from a 
few minutes after that, when the waiter had left him in the 
coffee-room, he seemed to have disappeared. The police 
could make nothing of it. Mr. Galloway, who had been at 
once communicated with by Hamish Channing, was almost as 
much assailed by fears as Roland, and sent up letters or 
telegrams every other hour in the day. 

The first and most natural theory taken up, was thif — that 
Arthur Channing had received some news, in one of the letters 
given to him, that had caused him suddenly to absent himself. 
Rut for the circumstance of the letter (written by Charles 
Channing on board the P. and O. steamer, and posted at 
Marseilles) not having been handed to Arthur, it might have 
been assumed that it had contained bad news of Charles, and 
that Arthur had hastened away to him. As the letter was 
omitted to be given to him — and it was a curious incident in 



3U ROLAND YORKP.. 

the problem that it should so have happened — this hope could 
not be entertained : Charles was well ; and by that time, no 
doubt, in Paris enjoying himself. But, even had circumstances 
enabled them to take up this hope, it could not have lasted 
very long. Had Arthur been called suddenly away, to 
Charles, or elsewhere, he would not have failed to let his 
friends know it. 

His portmanteau remained at the hotel unclaimed ; with 
his umbrella and small parcel, containing the few articles he 
had bought earlier in the evening ; proof that when he left the 
hotel, he had meant to return to it. Now and again, even yet, 
a stray letter would reach the hotel from some individual or 
other, whom he ought to have seen on business during his 
sojourn in London, and had not. The letters, like the luggage, 
remained unclaimed, except by Hamish. 

In reply to inquiries, Mr. Galloway stated that the amount 
brought up to town by Arthur from himself, was sixty pounds ; 
chiefly in five-pound notes. This was, of course, exclusive of 
what Arthur might have about him of his own. Mr. Galloway, 
in regard to the transmission of money, seemed to do things 
like no one else. Who, save himself, but would have given 
Arthur an order on his London bankers, Glyn and Co. ? Not 
he. He happened to have the sixty pounds by him, and so 
sent it up in notes and gold. 

The first thing the poUce did, upon being summoned to the 
search, was to endeavour to ascertain what letters Arthur had 
received that night upon entering the hotel in Norfolk Street, 
and from whom they were. The waiter said there were either 
four or five. He fancied there had been five in all ; and, as 
one was accidentally left in the rack, it must, he felt nearly 
sure, have been only four that he delivered over. One of them 
— he was positive of this — had arrived that same evening, only 
an hour or two before Mr. Arthur Channing. The young 
person who presided over the interests of a sort of office, or 
where inquiries were made by visitors, and whence orders were 
issued, was a Miss Whiffin. She was an excessively smart 
lady in a rustling silk, with frizzy curls, and a remarkable 
chignon that might have been furnished by the coiffeur of 
Mrs. Bede Greatorex. Miss Whiffin could not, or would not, 
recollect what number of letters had been waiting for Mr. 
Channing. Being a supercilious young lady — or, at least, 
doing her best to appear one — she assumed to think it a piece 



RESTLESS WANDERINGS. 315 

of impertinence to be questioned at all. Yes, she remembered 
there were a few letters waiting for Mr. Arthur Channing; 
foreign or English ; she did not notice which : if the waiter 
said it was five, no doubt it was five. She considered it ex- 
ceedingly unreasonable, not to say ungentlemanly, of any cus- 
tomer to write and order a bedroom, walk into the house and 
then walk out again, and never occupy it. It was a thing she 
neither understood nor had been accustomed to. 

And that was all that could be drawn from Miss Whififin. 
But the opinion, that the number of letters given to Arthur 
had been four, was in a degree borne out : for that was just 
the number they had been able to trace as having been written 
to him. Three were notes from people in London, making 
appointments for Arthur to call on them the next day ; the 
fourth was known to be from Mr. Galloway, that gentleman 
having despatched it by the day-mail from Helstonleigh. 

What could have taken Arthur out again ? That was the 
point to be solved, if possible. Unless it could be done, 
neither police nor any one else had any clue as to the quarter 
to which their inquiries should be directed. Had he quitted 
London again (which seemed highly improbable), then the 
railways must be visited for news of him. Had he only strolled 
out for a walk, then it must be London itself 

One of the three notes came from a firm of proctors in 
Parliament Street. It contained these words from the senior 
partner, who was an old friend of Mn Galloway's : — " If it 
were convenient for you to call on me the evening of your 
arrival in town, I should be glad, as I wish to see you myself, 
and I am leaving home the following morning for a week. I 
shall remain at the office until nine at night, on the chance of 
your coming." 

That Arthur, on reading the note, might have hastened to 
Parliament Street, was more than probable. He knew London 
fairly well, having been up on two previous occasions for Mr. 
Galloway. But Arthur never made his appearance there. 
Though of course that did not prove that he had not set out 
with the intention of going there. Another conjecture, started 
by Roland Yorke, was, that he might have forgotten some 
trifling article or other amongst his previous purchases, and 
gone out again to get it. Allowing one or other of these sup- 
positions to be correct, it did not explain the mystery of his 
disappearance. 



3i6 ROLAND YORKE. 

What became of him? If, according to this theory, he 
walked up Norfolk Street to the Strand, and turned to the 
right or left, how far had he gone that day ? Where had his 
steps halted ? at what point had he turned aside ? How, and 
where, and in what manner had he disappeared ? It was in 
truth a mystery, and no one was able to answer those questions. 
A thousand times a day Roland declared he had been 
murdered — but that assertion was not looked upon as a satis- 
factory conclusion. 

Upon a barrel, which happened to stand in a corner of an 
office at one of the police stations, into which he had dashed 
with agitated mien, sat Roland Yorke. Six days of search had 
gone by, and this was the seventh. With every morning that 
rose and brought forth no news of Arthur, Roland's state of 
mind grew worse and worse. The police for miles round were 
beginning to dread him, for he bothered their lives out. The 
shops in the Strand could say nearly the same. When it was 
found beyond doubt that Arthur was really missing, Roland 
had gone to the shops knocking frantically, just as he had done 
at Mrs. Jones's door, and bursting into those that were still 
open. It happened to be evening : for a whole day was 
wasted in inquiring at proctors' and solicitors' offices, Gerald's 
chambers, and similar places : and so many of the shops were 
closed. Into those that were open, dashed Roland, asking for 
news of a gentleman ; a " very handsome young fellow nearly 
as tall as himself, who might have gone in to buy something." 
Some, serving behind the counters, thought him mad; others 
that he might have designs on the till ; a few threatened to give 
him into custody. In the excited state of Roland's mind it 
was not to be expected that he could be quiet and coherent. 
When Hamish Channing went later, with his calm explanation 
and courteous bearing, though his inward anxiety was quite as 
great as Roland's, it was a different thing altogether, and he 
was received with consideration. Threats and denial availed 
not with Roland : day by day, as each day came round, the 
shops had him again. In he went, begging them to try and 
recall every soul who might have made purchases that night. 
But, as the days went on, and nothing came of it, Roland 
began to lay the fault on the police. 

" I never heard of such a thing," he was saying this morning 
as he sat on the high barrel, after a rush of about twelve miles, 
or so, comprising Scotland Yard, every shop in the Strand and 



RESTLESS WANDERINGS. 317 

Fleet Street, and all round the docks and back again. "Six 
days since he was missing, and no earthly news of him dis- 
covered yet ! Not as much as a sc7-ap of a clue ! Where's the 
use of a country having its police at all, unless they can do 
better than that ? " 

He spoke in an injured tone ; one that he would have liked 
to make passionate. Roland's only audience was a solitary 
policeman, with a prominent, buttoned-up chest and red face, 
who stood with his back against the mantel-piece, reading a 
newspaper. 

" We have not had no clue to work upon, you see, Mr. 
Vorke," replied the man, who bore the euphonious name of 
Spitchcock, and was, so to say, on intimate terms with Roland, 
after so many invasions. 

" No skill, you mean, Spitchcock. I know what the English 
police are : had cause to know it, and the mistakes they make, 
years ago, long before I went to Port Natal. I could almost 
say, without being far from the truth, that it was the awful 
bungling of one of your lot that drove me to Africa." 

" How was that, sir ? " 

" I'm not going to tell you. Sometimes I wish I had stayed 
out there ; I should have been nearly as well-off. What with 
not getting on, and being picked up short by having my 
dearest friend murdered and flung over Waterloo Bridge — for 
that's what it will turn out to be — things don't look bright over 
here. I know this much : if it had happened in Port Natal, he 
would have been found ere this — dead or alive." 

" Yes, that must be a nice place, that must, by your descrip- 
tion of it, sir," remarked the policeman disparagingly, as he 
turned his newspaper. 

" It was nicer than this is just now, at any rate," returned 
Roland. " I never heard at Port Natal of a gentleman being 
pounced upon and murdered as he walked quietly along the 
street at half-past eight o'clock in the evening. Such a villain- 
ous thing didn't happen when I was there." 

" You've got to hear it of London yet, Mr. Yorke." 

"What else, do you suppose, could have happened to him ? " 
retorted Roland. " I can't say he was actually murdered in 
the open Strand : but I do say he must have been drawn into 
one of the alleys, or some other miserable place, with a pitch- 
plaster on his mouth, or chloroform to his nose, and there done 
for, ^Vho is to know that he did not open his pocket-book in 



3i8 ROLAND YORKE. 

the train, coming uj), and some thief caught sight of the notes, 
and dodged him ? " 

" He'd be safe enough in the Strand," remarked the man. 

" Oh, would he, though ! " fiercely rejoined Roland. " Who 
is to know, then, but he had to dive into some bad place where 
thieves live to do an errand for old Galloway; perhaps pay 
away one of his notes — and went out at once to do it ? Do 
you mean to say that's unlikely ? " 

" No, that's not unlikely. If he had to do anything of the 
sort that took him into the thieves' alleys, that's how he might 
have come to grief," avowed Mr. Spitchcock. "Many a one. 
gets put out of the way during a year, and no bones is made 
over it." 

Roland jumped up with force so starding that he nearly 
upset the barrel. " That's how it must have been, Spitchcock ! 
What can I do in it ? I never cared for any one in the world 
as I cared for him, and never shall. Except — except some- 
body else — and that's nothing to anybody." 

" But this here's altogether another guess sort of thing," 
remonstrated the policeman. " Them cases don't get found 
out through the party not being inquired for : his friends, 
if he's got any, thinks, may be, he's gone oif on the spree, 
abroad or somewhere, and never asks after him. This is 
different." 

He spoke in a cool calm sort of way. It produced no 
effect on Roland. The new theory had been started, and 
that was enough. So many conjectures had been hazarded 
and rejected during the past few days that to suggest another 
was to Roland something like a spring of water to the parched 
traveller crossing the desert. Ordering Spitchcock to pro- 
pound this view to the first of his superiors who should look 
in, Roland went speeding on his course again to seek an 
interview with Hamish Channing. 

Making a detour first of all down Wellington Street : for, 
to pass Waterloo Bridge without inquiring whether anything 
had " turned up," was beyond Roland. Perhaps it was be- 
cause Arthur seemed to have disappeared within what may 
be called its radius, taken in conjunction with its reputation, 
that induced Roland Yorke to suspect the spot. It haunted 
his waking thoughts, his dreams when sleeping. The police 
had learned to know him now and what he wanted ; and if 
they laughed at him behind his back, they were civil to his face. 



RESTLESS WANDERINGS. 319 

Onward pressed Roland. How many wayfarers and apple- 
stalls he had knocked over since the search began, he would 
have had some difficulty to reckon up. To bring him to 
account for damages, was simply impracticable. Before the 
capsized individual could understand what had happened to 
him, or the bewildered apple-woman so much as looked at 
her fallen wares, Roland was out of sight and hearing. A 
young shoe-black at the corner had come to think the gentle- 
man, pressing onwards everlastingly up and down the street, 
never turning from his course, might be the Wandering Jew ; 
and would cease brushing to gaze up at Roland whenever he 
passed. 

Look at him now, reader. The tall, well-dressed young 
fellow, his face pale and anxious, his arms swaying, as ho 
strides on resolutely down Wellington Street ! Neither to 
right nor left looks he : his eyes are cast forth over the people's 
heads, towards the bridge and the river, as if asking for the 
information he is going to seek. One great feature in Roland 
was his hopefulness. Each time he started for Waterloo 
Bridge, or Scotland Yard, or Hamish Channing's, or Mr. 
Greatorex's, or any other place where news might possibly be 
awaiting him, renewed hope was as buoyant in his heart as 
it had been that memorable day when he had anchored in the 
beautiful harbour of Port Natal, and gazed on the fair shore 
that seemed to Roland as a very paradise. Bright with hope 
as his heart had then been, so was it now. So was it at this 
moment as he bore on, down Wellington Street. 

" Well," said he to the toll-keeper. Anything turned up?" 
**Not a bit on't," responded the man. "Nor likely to." 
Roland passed through, perched himself on the parapet, and 
gazed at the river. Now on this side the bridge, now leaping 
over to that. A steamer passed, a rowing-boat or two ; but 
Arthur Channing was not in them. Roland looked to the 
mud on the sides, and threw his gaze up and down. In vain. 
All features were very much as they had been from the day of 
his first search : certainly returning him no signs of Arthur. 
And down went hope again, as completely as the pears had 
gone down, earlier in the day, at a corner^ stall. Despair had 
possession of him now. 

" You say that no suspicious character went on to the bridge 
that night, so far as you can recollect," resumed Roland in 
the gloomiest tone, when he had walked slowly back to the 



320 ROLAND YORKE. 

man at the gate. Slowly, because some sort of clue seemed to 
lie in that bridge and he was always loth to quit it. If he did 
not suspect Arthur of lying buried under the pavement, it 
seemed something like it, 

" I didn't say so," interrupted the gate-keeper, in rather 
surly tones. " What I said was, as there warn't nothing sus- 
picious chucked over that night." 

" You can't tell. You might not have heard." 

" Well, I haven't got no time to jabber with you to-day." 

*' If I kept this turnstile, I should make it my business to 
mark all suspicious characters that went through at night ; and 
watch them." 

"Oh, would you! And how 'ud you know which was the 
suspicious ones ? They don't always carry their marks on 
their backs, they don't ; some on 'em don't look no different 
from you." 

Roland bit his lips to keep down a retort. All in Arthur's 
interest. Upon giving the man, on a recent visit, what the 
latter had called " sauce," his migration on and off the bridge 
had been threatened with summary arrest. So he was careful. 

" Well, I've just had a clue given me by the police. And I 
haven't the smallest doubt now that he was put out of the 
way. And this is, the likeliest place for him to have been 
brought to. I don't think it would take much skill, after he 
had been chloroformed to death, to shoot him over, out of a 
hansom cab. Brought up level with the parapet, he might be 
sent over as easily as I should go over if I jumped it." 

The toll-keeper answered by a growl and a few sharp words. 
Truth to say, he felt personally aggrieved at his bridge being 
subjected to these scandalizing suspicions, and resented them 
accordingly. Roland did not wait. He went off in search of 
Hamish, and ere he had left the bridge out of sight, hope 
began again to spring within him. So buoyant is the human 
heart in general, and Roland's in particular. Not — let it 
always be understood — the hope that Arthur would be found 
uninjured ; only that some news of him that might help to 
solve the mystery. 

Shooting out of a hansom cab (not dead, after the manner of 
the picture just drawn, but living) came a gentleman, just as 
Roland was passing it. The cab had whirled round the corner 
of Wellington Street, probably on its way from the station, and 
pulled up at a shop in the Strand. It was Sir Vincent Yorke, 



RESTLESS WANDERINGS. 321 

Pvoland stopped; seized his hand in his impulsive way, and 
began entering upon the story of Arthur Channing's disappear- 
ance without the slightest preliminary greeting. Every 
moment Roland could spare from rushing about, he spent in 
talking. He talked to Mrs. Jones, he talked to Henry AVilliam 
Ollivera, he talked to Hurst and Jenner, he would have talked 
to the moon. Mr. Brown had been obliged to forbid him the 
office, unless he could come to it to work. In his rapid, 
excited manner, he poured forth the story, circumstance after 
circumstance, in Sir Vincent's ear, that gentleman feeling 
slightly bewildered, and not altogether pleased at the unexpected 
detention. 

" Oh — ah — I dare say he'll turn up all right," minced Sir 
^'incent. "A fella's not obliged to acquaint his friends with 
his movements. Just got up to town? — ah — yes— just for a 
day or two. Good day. Hope you'll find him." 

"You don't understand who it is, Vincent," spoke Roland, 
resenting the want of interest. " It is William Yorke's brother- 
in-law, Annabel's brother, and the dearest friend I ever had in 
life. I've told you of Arthur Channing before. He has the best 
and bravest heart living; the truest man and gentleman the 
world ever produced." 

" Ah — yes — good day ! I'm in a hurry." 

Sir Vincent escaped into the shop, Roland went on to 
Hamish Channing's office. Hamish could not neglect his work, 
however Roland might abandon his. 

But Hamish would have liked to do it. In good truth, his 
brother's unaccountable disappearance was rendering him in a 
measure unfit for his duties. He might almost as well have 
devoted his whole time just now to the search, for his thoughts 
were with it always, and his interruptions were numerous. To 
him the police carried reports , it was on him Roland Yorkc 
rattled in half-a-dozen times in the course of the day, upsetting 
all order and quiet, and business too, by the commotion he 
raised. To see Roland bursting in, was nothing at all extra- 
ordinary; but Hamish did wish, as the doors swung back after 
Roland, once more, this morning, that he would not burst in 
quite so often. Perhaps Roland was a little more excited than 
usual, in the full belief that he had at length found the right 
clue. 

"It's all out, Hamish," he panted. "Arthur's as good as 
found. He went out of the hotel to do some errand for 

Roland Yorke. *1 



^22 ROLAND YORICE. 

Galloway ; it took him into those desperate pickpocket places 
where the police dare hardly go themselves, and that's where it 
must have been done." 

Hamish laid down his pen. The colour left his face, a 
faintness stole over his heart. 

"How has it been discovered, Roland?" he inquired, in 
hushed tones. 

"Spitchcock did it. You know the fellow, — red face, fat 
enough for two. I was with him just now j and in consequence 
of what he said, it's the conclusion I have come to." 

Naturally, Hamish pressed for details. Upon Roland's 
supplying them, with accuracy as faithful as his state of mind 
v/ould permit, Hamish knew not whether to be most relieved 
or vexed. Roland had neither wish nor thought to deceive ; 
and his positive assertion was only made according to the 
belief he had worked himself into. To find that the present 
'■' clue," as Roland called it, turned out to be an assumed one 
of that impulsive gentleman's mind, on a par with the theory 
he entertained in regard to Waterloo Bridge, was undoubtedly 
a relief to Hamish. Nevertheless, he would have preferred 
Roland's keeping the whole to himself. 

"I wish you wouldn't take up these fancies, Roland," he 
said, as severely as his sweet nature ever allowed him to speak. 
" It is so useless to bring me unnecessary alarms." 

" You may take my w^ord for it that's how it will turn out to 
have been, Hamish." 

"No. Had Mr. Galloway charged him with any commission 
to unsafe parts that night — or to safe ones, either — he would 
have written up since to tell me of them." 

" Oh, would he, though ! " cried Roland, wiping his hot brow. 
"You don't know Galloway as I do, Hamis . He's just likely 
to have given such a commission — if ho iiad it to give — and 
to think no more about it. Somebody ought to go to Helston- 
leigh." 

Hamish made no reply to this. He was busy with his 
papers. 

"Will you go, Hamish?" 

" To Helstonleigh ? Certainly not. There is not the slightest 
necessity for it. I am quite certain that Mr. Galloway holds no 
clue that he has not suggested to us." 

" Then, if nobody else goes down, I will go," said Roland, 
his eyes lighting with earnestness, his face flushing. " I never 



A NEW IDEA. 323 

meant to show myself in Helstonleigh again until fortune 
favoured me ; but I'd despise myself if I could let my own 
feelings of shame stand in old Arthur's light." 

"Don't do anything of the kind," advised Hamish. "Be- 
lieve me, Roland, it is altogether a wrong notion you have 
taken up. Your impulsive nature deceives you."' 

" I shall go, Hamish. I am not obliged to carry your consent 
with me." 

" I should not give it," said Hamish, slightly laughing, but 
speaking in unmistakably firm accents. 

He was interrupted by a hacking cough. As Roland watched 
him, waiting until it should cease, watched the hectic it left 
behind, a sudden recollection came over him of one who used 
to cough in much the same way before he died. 

"I say, old fellow, you've caught cold," he said. 

" No, I think not." 

"I'd get rid of that cough, Hamish. It makes me think of 
Joe Jenkins. Don't be offended : I'm not comparing you 
with him. He was the thinnest and poorest lamp-post going, 
a miserable reed in the hands of Mrs. J. ; and you are bright, 
handsome, fastidious Hamish Channing. But vou cough 
alike." 

With the last words Roland went dashing out. When he 
had a purpose in view, head and heels were alike impetuous, 
and perhaps no earthly power, unless it had been the appear- 
ance of Arthur himself, could have arrested him in his present 
determination — that of starting for Helstonleisrh. 



CHAPTER VI. 

A NEW IDEA. 



1 Hii; Reverend Henry William Ollivera sat in his room at a late 
breakfast. He had been called out to a sick parishioner just 
as he was about to sit down to it at nine in the morning, and 
with his usual self-abandonment had hastened away. It was 
nearly one when he returned, having taken a morning service 
for a friend, and this was really his breakfast. Mrs. Jones, who 
cared for the comfort of the people about her in her tart way, 



324 ROLAND YORKE. 

had sent up what she called buttered eggs, a little ham, and a 
hot roll. The table-cloth was beautifully white : the coffee-pot 
looked as good as silver. 

But, tempting as the meal really was, hungry as Mr. Ollivera 
might be supposed to be, he was allowing it to grow cold before 
him. A newspaper lay on the stand, but he did not unfold it. 
The strangely eager light- in his eyes was very conspicuous as 
he sat, lost in a reverie ; the fevered hands were still. Some 
months had elapsed since his wild anxiety to unfold the 
mystery enshrouding his brother's death had set in again, 
through the disclosure of Mr. Willett; a burning, restless 
anxiety, that never seemed wholly to quit his mind, night or 
day. 

But nothing had come of it. Seek as he would, Mr. Ollivera 
had as yet obtained no result. An exceedingly curious and 
disagreeable doubt had crossed his thoughts at times — whence 
arising he scarcely knew — of one whom he would have been 
very unwilling to suspect, even though appearances had been 
more against her than at present. And that was AUetha Rye. 
Perhaps what first struck him as singular was Miss Rye's ill- 
concealed agitation upon any mention of the subject, her 
startling change of colour, her shrinking desire to avoid it. At 
the time of Mr. Willett's communication the clergyman had 
renewed his habit of going into Mrs. Jones's parlour to converse 
upon the topic ; a habit he had allowed to fall into disuse, and 
it was then that Miss Rye's remarkable demeanour gradually 
dawned on his notice. At first he thought it an accident ; next 
he decided that it was singular, afterwards he grew to introduce 
the topic suddenly, purposely to observe her. And what he 
noticed was beginning to make a most unpleasant impression 
on him. A very slight occurrence, nothing but the unex- 
pectedly meeting with Mr. Butterby that morning, had brought 
all the old matter back to him. As he was hastening home 
from church, really wanting his breakfast, he encountered the 
detective. The latter said he had been in town nearly a week 
on business (the reader saw him at its commencement, in con- 
junction with Mr. Bede Greatorex), but was returning to Hel- 
stonleigh that night or the morrow. For a few minutes they 
stood conversing of the past, Butterby saying that nothing new 
had " turned up." 

" Have you not heard of Godfrey Pitman ? " suddenly asked 
Mr. Ollivera, 



A NEW IDEA. 325 

The question was asked sharply : and for once the clever 
man was at bay. Did Mr. Oil i vera mean to imply that he had 
heard of Pitman ? — that he, the clergyman, was aware that he 
had heard of him ? Or, was it only a simple question ? In 
the uncertainty Mr. Butterby paused, evidently in some doubt 
or hesitation, and glanced keenly at the questioner from under 
his eyebrows. Mr. Ollivera marked it all. 

" Have you heard of him ? " 

" The way that folks' thoughts go wandering ! " exclaimed 
Butterby, with a charming air of innocence. " Pitman, says 
you : if I wasn't running my head on that other man — WiUett. 
And he has an attack of the shivers from drinking ; that's the 
last news gazetted of him, sir. As to Godfrey Pitman — the 
less we say about him, the better, unless we could say it to 
some purpose. Good morning, Reverend Sir ; I've my work 
cut out for me to-day." 

" One moment," said Mr. Ollivera, detaining him. " I want 
your opinion upon a question I am going to ask. Could a 
woman, think you, have killed my brother?" 

Perhaps the question was so unexpected as slightly to startle 
even the detective. Instead of answering it, his green eyes 
shot out another keen glance at Mr. Ollivera, and they did not 
turn from his face again. The latter supposed he was not 
understood. 

" I mean, could a woman, think you, have had the strength 
and aim to fire the pistol ? " 

"Do you ask me that, sir, because you suspect one?" 

" I cannot say that I go so far as to stispect one. It has 
occurred to me lately as being within the range of possibility. 
I wish you would answer my question, Mr. Butterby ? " 

"Of course, from the point you put it, it might have been a 
woman just as well as a man ; some women be every bit as 
strong, and a sight bolder," v;r.3 Mr. Butterby's answer. " But 
I can't wait, sir, now," he added, as he turned away and said 
good morning once more. 

" It was queer, his asking that," softly repeated Mr. Butterby, 
as he walked on at a quicker pace than usual. 

Mn Ollivera reached home with his head full of this ; and, 
as usual under the circumstances, was allowing his late break- 
fast to grow cold before him. Mrs. Jones, entering the room 
on some domestic errand, informed him that Roland Yorke 
|iad just come in in a great state of commotion — which was 



326 ROLAND YORKE. 

nothing unusual — saying Artliur Channing was as good as 
found murdered ; and that he was off to Helstonleigh in con- 
sequence. Before Mr. OUivera, turning to his breakfast then 
with a will, could get downstairs, Roland had gone skimming 
out again. So the clergyman turned his steps to the house of 
Greatorex and Greatorex. 

It could only be that the singular and prolonged disappear- 
ance of Arthur Channing should excite public commotion. 
Though it had not been made, so to say, a public matter, at 
least a portion of the public knew of it. No name appeared 
in the papers ; but the "mysterious disappearance of a gentle- 
man" was becoming quite a treasure to the newspapers. 
Greatorex and Greatorex had taken it up warmly, as much 
from intrinsic interest in the affair itself, as that Annabel was 
an inmate of their house. Arthur Channing had stood, un- 
solicited, over John Ollivera's grave at the stealthy midnight 
burial service ; and Air. Greatorex did not forget it. He had 
offered his services at once to Hamish Channing. "We have 
wide experience of London life," he said, " and will do for you 
all that can be done in it." Bede, though anxious, wished the 
matter could be set at rest, for it was costing him a clerk. 
Roland candidly avowed that he was no more fit for his 
work at present than he would be to rule the patients in 
St. Luke's ; and Bede saw that this was only truth. Little 
Jenner was home again, and took up Roland's work as well as 
his own. 

One very singular phase of the matter was this — so many 
people appeared to be missing. The one immediately in 
question, Arthur Channing, was only a unit in the number. 
Scarcely an hour in the day passed but the police either re- 
ceived direct news of somebody's disappearance; or, through 
their inquiries after Arthur, found it out for themselves. If 
space permitted, and these volumes were the medium for it, a 
singularly interesting account might be given of the facts, every 
word of which would be true. 

Henry Ollivera found Mr. Greatorex in the dining-room 
finishing his luncheon. In point of fact it was his dinner, for 
he was going out of town that afternoon and would not be 
home until late. Bede, who rarely took luncheon, though he 
sometimes made a pretence of going up for it, was breaking 
morsels off a hard biscuit, as he stood against the wall by the 
mantel-piece, near the glass that in the days of his vanity he had 



A NEW IDEA. 327 

been so fond of glancing into. Mrs. Bede Greatorex was at 
table , also the little girl, Jane. The board was extravagantly 
spread, and Mrs. Bede was solacing herself with a pint of 
sparkling hock, which stood at her elbow. She looked flushed ; 
at least, as much so as a face made-up can look. In her eyes 
there shone an angry light : perhaps at the non-appearance of 
two visitors she had expected, perhaps because she had just 
come from one of her violent attacks on Miss Channing, Mr. 
Greatorex, like his son Bede, did not appear to appreciate the 
good things, and was dining off one plain dish and a glass of 
pale ale. 

" You will sit down and take something, William ? " 

Mr. Ollivera decHned , he had only just breakfasted. From 
the absence of Miss Channing at the table, he concluded that 
the bad news mentioned by Mrs. Jones must be correct. But 
Mr. Greatorex said he was not aware of anything fresh in the 
matter ; and a smile crossed his lips upon hearing that Roland 
was the author of the report. Bede laughed outright. 

" If you only knew how often he has come in, startling us 
with extraordinary tales, you would have learnt by this time 
what faith to have put in Roland Yorke," said Bede. " A man 
more nervously sensitive than he is, or ever will be, would have 
had brain-fever with all this talking and walking and mental 
excitement." 

"He says, I understand, that he is going down to Helston- 
ieigh, to get some information from Mr. Galloway," said the 
clergyman. 

"Oh, is he? As good go there as stay here, for all the work 
he does. He would start for the moon if there were only a 
road to take him there." 

" I wonder you give him so much holiday, Bede," remarked 
Mr Ollivera. 

" He takes it," answered Bede. " He is of very little use at 
his best, but we don't choose to discharge him, or in fact make 
any change until Lord Carrick, who may now be expected 
shortly, comes over. I believe one thing — that he tries to do 
his utmost : and Brown puts up with him.'' 

" Do you know," began Mr. Ollivera, in low, meaning tones, 
when the door closed upon the luncheon-tray, and the three 
gentlemen stood around the fire, and Mrs. Bede had betaken 
herself to a far-off windo^y ; " I have half a mind to go to 
tielstonleigh myself,'' 



328 ROLAND YORKE. 

" In search of Arthur Channing, Wilham ? " 

" No, uncle. In quest of that other matter that has been 
upon my mind so long. An idea has forced itself upon me 
lately that it — might have been a woman who did the deed." 

" For Heaven's sake, drop it," exclaimed Bede, strangely 
agitated. " Don't you see that Louisa is in the room ? " 

She could not have heard them — but Bede was always thus. 
He had his reasons for not allowing it to be mentioned before 
her. One of them was this. In the days gone by, just before 
their marriage, Clare Joliffe, suddenly introducing the subject 
of Mr. OUivera's death when Bede was present, said to her 
sister in tones between jest and earnest, that she (Louisa) had 
been the cause of it. Clare meant no more than that her 
conduct had caused him to put an end to his life — as it was 
supposed he had done. But Louisa, partly in passion, had 
gone into a state of agitation so great as to alarm IBede. 
Never, from that time, would he suffer it to be mentioned 
before her if he could prevent it. 

"But, William, whpt do you mean about a woman?" asked 
Mr. Greatorex, lowering his voice. 

" Uncle Greatorex, I cannot explain myself. I must go on 
in my own way, until the time to speak shall come. That 
clearance of the past is rapidly advancing I feel sure of A 
subtle instinct whispers it to me. My dreams tell it me. For- 
get for the present what I said. I ought not to have spoken." 

" You are visionary, as usual," said Bede, sarcastically. 

" I know that you always think me so," was the clergyman's 
answer, and he turned to depart. 

There was a general dispersion. Only Mr. Greatorex re- 
mained in the room : and he had fallen into deep thought : 
when Roland Yorke dashed in. Without ceremony he flung 
himself into a chair. 

" Mr. Greatorex, I am dead-beat. What with perpetually 
cutting about, and meeting depressing disappointments, and 
taking up horrible nen' fears, it's enough to wear a fellow out, 
sir." 

Roland looked dead-beat. He had plenty of strength, but 
it would not stand this constant strain. In the last six days it 
may be questioned if he had sat down, with the exception of 
coming to an anchor on upright barrels or bridge parapets ; and 
then he and his legs were so excitedly restless that a spectator 
might have thought he was afflicted with St. Vitus's Pance. 



A NEW IDEA. 329 

" Been taking a round this morning as usual, I suppose, Mr. 
Yorke," said the lawyer. 

'• Ever so many of them, sir. I began with the docks. I 
can't help thinking that if anything was done with Arthur in 
conjunction with a carpet-bag, he might turn up there, after 
drifting dow-n. Then I walked back to Scotland Yard ; then 
looked into a few shops and police-stations. Next I went to 
"Waterloo Bridge, then down to Hamish Channing's, then back 
again to ]\Irs. Jones's ; then to Vincent Yorke's ; and now 
I've come here to tell you I'm going down to Helstonleigh, if 
you don't mind sparing me." 

If you don't mind sparing me ! For any use he was to the 
house, it did not matter whether he went or stayed. But that 
Roland had improved in mind and manners, he had surely not 
asked it. Time was when he had gone off on a longer journey 
than this one to Helstonleigh and never said to his master, 
With your leave or by your leave ; but just quitted the office, 
leaving his compliments as a legacy. 

"And, if you please, I should like to see Miss Channing 
before starting, sir; just to tell her what I'm doing, and to ask 
if she has any messages for her people.'"' 

Mr. Greatorex rang the bell. He fancied Miss Channing 
might be out, as she had not appeared at luncheon. 

Not out, but in her pretty bedroom. When gaiety or dis- 
cord reigned below, when i\[rs. Bede Greatorex's temper tried 
her unusually, A^nnabel could come up here and find it a sure 
refuge. In one of the violent outbreaks that seemed to be 
almost hke insanity, Mrs. Bede had that morning attacked 
JNIiss Channing — and for no earthly reason. There are such 
tempers, there are such women in the world. Some of us 
know it too well. 

Weeping, trembling, Annabel gained her chamber, and there 
sobbed out her heart. It had needed no additional grief to- 
day, for Arthur's strange disappearance filled it with a terrible 
weight. Jane ran up to say luncheon was ready; Annabel 
replied that she could not take any. Gathering the child to 
her arms, kissing her with many gentle kisses, she whispered a 
charge not to mention what had passed. If grandpapa or 
Uncle Bede happened to remark on her absence from table, 
Jane might say she had a headache. It would be perfectly 
true, for her head did ache sadly. It was ever thus ; even 
Mrs. Bede Greatorex she endeavoured to screen from con- 



530 ROLAND YORKE. 

demnation. Trained to return good for evil whenever it was 
practicable : to bear sweetly and patiently, Annabel Channing 
strove to carry out certain holy precepts in every action of her 
daily life. Too many of us keep them for church and the 
closet, Annabel had learnt the one only way. Praying ever, 
as she had been taught from childhood, for the Holy Spirit 
spoken of by Jesus Christ to make its home in her heart, and 
ever direct and restrain her, she certainly knew the way to 
Peace as well as it can be known here; and practised it. 
" The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make 
peace." 

But it was hard to bear. Her nature was but human. 
There were times, as on this day, when she thought she could 
not endure it any longer, and must give up her situation. 
That she was loth to do, for more reasons than one. Setting 
aside these trying outbreaks, the post was a good one. She 
was regarded as an equal, treated as a lady, well remunerated ; 
and, what weighed greatly with Annabel in her extreme 
conscientiousness, she was unwilling to abandon Jane Greato- 
rex. For she was doing good to the child : good in the 
highest sense of the word. Left to some governesses (con- 
scientious ones too from a moral and educational point of 
view) Jane would grow up a selfish, careless, worldly woman : 
Annabel was ever patiently working by degrees to lead her to 
wish to be something better ; and she had begun to see a little 
light breaking in on her way. For this great reason she wished 
to remain : it seemed a duty to do so. 

Drawing her desk towards her, she had sat down to write to 
her sister Constance, William Yorke's wife. Constance was 
her great resource. To her, when the world's troubles were 
pressing heavily, Annabel poured out her sorrow — never hint- 
ing at any special cause, only saying that the situation " had its 
trials " — and Constance never failed to return an answer that 
cheered Annabel, and helped her on her way. The very fact 
of writing seemed often to do her good, as on this day, and 
the tears had dried on her cheeks, and her face grew bright 
with hopeful resolution, as she folded the letter. 

" I must balance the good I enjoy here against the trouble," 
she said to herself; "that will help me to bear it better. If 
Jane " 

She was interrupted by the young lady in question ; who 
game running in, followed by one of the maids. 



A NEW IDEA. 331 

"Miss Channing, Roland Yorke wants to see you in the 
dining-room." 

" Roland Yorke ! " repeated Annabel, dubiously. With all 
his want of attention to conventionalities, Mr. Roland had 
never gone so far as to send up for her. 

"It was Mr. Greatorex who desired me to tell you, miss," 
spoke up the servant, possibly thinking Miss Jane's news 
needed confirming. " He rang to know whether you were 
at home, and then told me to come and say that Mr. Yorke 
wished to see you." 

Annabel smoothed down the folds of her grey silk dress, 
and glanced at her pretty auburn hair. She saw something 
else also; her swollen eyes, and the vivid blushes on her cheeks. 

"I'll come with you," whispered Miss Jane. "And I'll tell 
him about Aunt Bede." 

The fear that she might do so, in spite of all injunction to 
the contrary, startled Annabel. Roland was the young lady's 
prime favourite, regarded by her in the light of a big play- 
fellow. 

"You cannot come with me, Jane. !Mary, be so kind as to 
take Miss Jane to Dalla. Say that she is to remain in the 
nursery until I am at liberty." 

Roland was alone in the dining-room when she entered it. 
With a delicacy that was really commendable in one who had 
been to Port Natal, he would not tell her of the theory he had 
taken up, or why he was going to Helstonleigh ; only that he 
was about to start for that city. 

" But what are you going for, Roland ? " was the very natural 
question. 

" To see old Galloway," he replied, standing beside her on 
the hearth-rug where Mr. Greatorex and Henry Ollivera had 
stood only just before. " I think Galloway must have given 
— at least — that is — that he could find some clue to Arthur's 
movements, if he were well pumped ; and I am going to do 
it. Some one ought to go ; Hamish won't, and so it falls 
upon me." 

Annabel made no reply. 

"I shan't like appearing in the old place," he candidly 
resumed. "I said I never would until fortune favoured me; 
but one has to do lots of things in this world that go against 
the grain ; one soon lives long enough to find that boasting 
turns out nothing but emptiness." 



332 ROLAND YORKE. 

" Oh Roland ! " she said, as the fallacy of the hope struck 
upon her, " I fear it will be a lost journey. Had Mr. Galloway 
been able to furnish ever so small a clue, he would have been 
sure to send it up without being asked." 

" That's what Hamish says. But I mean to try. I'd go off 
to-day to the North Pole as soon as to Helstonleigh, if I thought 
it would find him. And to think, Annabel, that while he was 
being kept out of the way by fate or ruffians, I was calling 
him proud ! — and neglectful ! — and hard-hearted ! I'll never 
forgive myself for that. If, through want of exertion on my 
part, he should not be found, I might expect his ghost to come 
and stand at the foot of my bed every night." 

"But — Roland — you have not given up all hope?" she 
questioned, her clear, honest hazel eyes looking steadily and 
beseechingly into his. 

" Well, I don't know. Sometimes I think he's sure to turn 
up all right, and then down I go again into the depths of 
despair. Last night I dreamt he was alive and well, and I 
was helping him up some perpendicular steps from a boat 
moored under Waterloo Bridge. AVhen I awoke I thouglit 
it was true. I was so glad ! Even after I remembered, it 
seemed a happy omen. Don't be down-hearted, Annabel. 
Once, at Port Natal, a fellow I knew was lost for a year. His 
name was Crow. We never supposed but he was dead, but 
he came to life again with a crop of red whiskers, and said 
he'd only been travelling. I say ! what's the matter with your 
eyes ? " 

The question somewhat confused her. She answered 
evasively. 

"You've been crying, Annabel. Now, tell me what the 
grievance was. If Mrs. Bede Greatorex makes you unhappy- 
good gracious ! and I can't help you, or take you from here ! 
I don't know when I shall : I don't get on at all. It's enough 
to make a man swear." 

" Hush, Roland ! I am very unhapy about Arthur." 

" Why, of course you are — how came I to forget it ? " he 
rejoined, easily satisfied as a child. " And here am I, wasting 
precious time that might be spent in looking after him ? 
Have you anything to send to Helstonleigh ? " 

" Only my love. My dear love to them all. You will see 
mamma ? " 

Roland suddenly took both her hands in his. and so held 



A NEW IDEA. :J33 

her before him, stooping his head a Httle, and speaking 
gently. 

"Annabel, I shall have to see your mamma, and tell 
her " 

She did not mean that at all ; it had not even occurred to 
her. Naturally the cheeks became very vivid now. ^^'ithout 
further ado, or, asking leave, bold Roland kissed the blushing 
face. 

" Good-bye, Annabel. Wish mc luck." 

Away he clattered, waiting neither for scolding nor answer, 
and was flying along the street, before Annabel had at all 
recovered her equanimity. 

To resolve to go to Helstonleigh was one thing, to get to it 
was another ; and Roland Yorke, with his usual carelessness, 
had not considered ways and means. Only when he dashed 
in at his lodgings that morning (as related by Mrs. Jones to 
Mr. Ollivera), did the question strike him as to how he was to 
get there. He had not a coin in the world. Roland's earnings 
(the result of having put his shoulder to the wheel these three or 
four months past) had been deposited with Mrs. Jones, it may be 
remembered, and they amounted to two sovereigns. These 
had been spent in searching for Arthur. In the first confusion 
of his disappearance, Roland had wildly dashed about in 
hansoms ; for his legs, for all their length and impatience, 
would not carry him from pillar to post fleetly enough. He 
made small presents to policemen, hoping to sharpen their 
powers ; he inserted two advertisements in the Times, offering 
rewards for mysterious carpet-bags. But for a fortunate over- 
sight that caused him to omit any address, it was quite unknown 
the number of old bags that might have been brought him. 
All this had speedily melted the gold pieces. He then got 
Mrs. Jones to advance him, with much grumbling, two more, 
which went the same way, and were not yet repaid. So there 
he was, without money to take him to Helstonleigh, and no 
one he knew likely to lend him any. 

"I can't walk," debated he, standing in his parlour as his 
penniless state occurred to him. "They used to call it a 
hundred and eleven miles in the old coaching days. It would 
be nothing to me if I had the time, but I can't waste that now. 
Hamish has set his face against my going, or I'd ask him. I 
wonder whether Dick Yorke would let me have a couple of 
pounds ? " 



334 ROLAND YORKE. 

To " wonder," meant to act, with Roland. Out he wetlt 
again on the spur of the moment, and posted to Portland Place. 
Sir Vincent was not at home. The man said he had been 
there that morning on his arrival from Sunny Mead (the little 
Yorke homestead in Surrey), but had gone out again directly. 
He might be expected at any moment, or all moments, during 
the day. 

Roland waited. In a state of restlessness, we may be sure, 
for the precious time was passing. He was afraid to go to the 
club lest he might miss him. When one o'clock struck, 
Roland thought he might do his other errand first : that of 
acquainting Greatorex and Greatorex with his departure, and 
seeing IMiss Channing. Therefore, he started forth again, 
leaving a peremptory message, should Sir Vincent return, that 
he was to zoait in for him. 

And now, having seen Mr. Greatorex and Annabel, he was 
speeding back again to Portland Place. Breathless, and 
excited, of course ; driving along as if the pavement belonged 
to him, and no one else had any right to it. In charging a 
corner at full tilt, he charged an inoffensive foot-passenger, 
quietly approaching. It was no other than Mr. Butterby. 

Roland brought himself up. It was an opportunity not to 
be missed. Seizing the official button-hole, he poured the story 
of Arthur Channing's disappearance into the official ear, 
imploring Mr. Butterby's services in the cause. 

" Don't think any more of the uncivil names I've called you, 
Butterby. You knew all the while I didn't mean anything. 
I've said I'd pay you out when I had the chance, and so I will, 
but it shall be in gold. If you will only put your services into 
the thing, we shall find him. Do, now ! You v/on't bear malice, 
Butterby." 

So impetuous had been the flow of eloquence, that ]\Ir, 
Butterby had found no opportunity of getting a word in edge- 
ways : he had simply looked and listened. Arthur Channing's 
loss had been as mysterious to him as to other people. 

" Arthur Channing ain't one of them sort o' blades likely to 
get into a mess, through going to places where drinking and 
what not's carried on," spoke he. 

" Of course he is not,'' was Roland's indignant answer. " He'd 
be more likely to turn tumbler at a fair ! Look here, Butterby ! 
You worked him harm once, but I'll never reproach you with 
it again as long as I live, and I've known all along you had no 



A NEW IDEA. 335 

ill-feeling in it : but now, you find him this time, and that will 
be tit for tat. Perhaps I may be rich some day, and I'll buy 
you a silver snuff-box set with diamonds." 

" I don't take snuff," said Mr. Butterb)^ 

But it was impossible to resist Roland's pleading, in its 
warm-hearted energy. And, to give IMr. Butterby his due, he 
would have been glad to do his best to find Arthur Channing. 

" I can't stay in London myself," said he. " I've been here 
a week now on private business, and must go down to Helston- 
leigh to-morrow ; but I'll put it special into Detective Jelf's 
hands. He's as 'cute an officer, young Mr. Yorke, as here and 
there one, and of more use in London than I am." 

" Bless you, Butterby ! " cried hearty Roland. "' Tell Jelf 
I'll give hini a snuff-box, too. And now I'm off. I won't forget 
you, Butterby," 

INIr. Butterby thought the chances that Roland would ever 
have tin snuff-boxes to give away, letting alone silver ones, were 
rather poor ; but he was not a bad-natured man, and he 
detained Roland yet an instant to give him a friendly word of 
advice. 

" There's one or two folks, in the old i)lace, that you owe a 
trifle to, Mr. Yorke " 

" There's half-a-dozen," interrupted candid Roland. 

" AVell, sir, I wouldn't show myself in the town more than I 
could help. They are vexed at being kept out of their money, 
thinking some of the family might have paid up ; and they 
might let off a bit if you went amongst 'em : unless, indeed, 
you are taking the money down with you." 

" Taking the money with me ! — why, Butterby, I haven't a 
sixpence in the world," avowed Roland, opening his astonished 
eyes. "If Dick Yorke won't lend me a pound or so, I don't 
know how on earth to get down, unless they give me a free 
pass on the engine." 

There was no time for more. Away he went to Portland 
Place, and thundered at the door, as if he had been a king. 
But his visit did not serve him. 

Sir Vincent Yorke had entered just after Roland's departure. 
Upon receiving the peremptory message, the baronet marvelled 
what it could mean, and whether all the Yorke family had been 
blown up, himself excepted. Nothing else, he thought, could 
justify the scapegoat Roland in desiring him, Sir Vincent, to 
stay in. To be kept waiting at home when he very particu- 



336 ROLAND YORKE. 

larly wanted to be out — for Sir Vincent had come to town to 
meet Miss Trehern, the lady he was shortly to marry — vexed 
him frightfully. So that when Roland reappeared he had an 
angry man to deal with. 

And, in good truth, had Roland announced the calamity, so 
pleasantly anticipated, it would have caused Sir Vincent less 
surprise ; certainly less vexation. When he found he had 
been decoyed into remaining in for nothing but to be asked 
for money to take ]\Ir. Roland careering off by rail — he was in 
too great a passion to understand where — Sir Vincent exploded. 
Roland, quietly braving the storm, prayed for " just a f)Ound," 
as if he were praying for life. Sir Vincent finally replied that 
he wouldn't lend him a shilling if it would save him from 
hanging. 

So Roland was thrown on his beam ends, and went back to 
Mrs. Jo-ies's with empty pockets, revolving ways and means in 
his troubled mind. 



CHAPTER VII. 

MR. CALLOWAY INVADED. 



It was night in the old cathedral town. The ten-o'clock bell 
had rung, and Mr. Galloway, proctor and surrogate, was at 
home in his residence in the Boundaries, thinking that he might 
go to rest. For several days he had been feeling very much 
out of sorts, and this evening the symptoms had culminated in 
what appeared to be a bad cold, attended with fever and pain 
in all his limbs. The old proctor was one of those people 
whose mind insensibly sways the body ; and the mysterious 
disappearance of Arthur Channing was troubling him to ill- 
ness. He had caused a huge fire to be made up in his bed- 
room, and was seated before it, groaning and lamenting. His 
slippered feet reposed on a warm cushion, a railway rug 
enveloped his shoulders, and a white cotton night-cap gracefully 
ornamented his head. One of his servants had just brought 
up a basin of hot gruel, holding at least a quart, and put it on 
the stand by his easy-chair. Mr. Galloway was groaning at 



MR. GALLOWAY INVADED. 337 

the gruel quite as much as with pain, for he hated gruel like 
poison. 

Thinking it might be less nauseous if disposed of at a 
draught, were that possible — Mr. Galloway took up the basin 
and put it to his lips. With a cry and a choking sound, down 
went the basin again. The stuff was scalding. And whether 
Mr. Galloway's tongue or temper suffered most, he would have 
been puzzled to confess. 

It was at this untoward moment — ]\Ir. Galloway's face 
purple, himself choking and coughing — that a noise, as of 
thunder, suddenly awoke the echoes of the Boundaries. Shut 
up in his snug room, sounds reaching him chiefly through the 
windows, the startled Mr. Galloway wondered what it was, and 
edged his white night- cap from one ear to listen. He then 
had the satisfaction of discovering that the noise was at his 
own front door. Some one had evidently seized the knocker 
and was rapping and rattling as if they never intended to leave 
off. The alarmed household were heard flying towards the 
door from all quarters. 

" Is it the fire-engine ? " groaned Mr. Galloway to himself. 
" I didn't hear it come up." 

It did not appear to be the fire-engine. A moment or two, 
and Mr. Galloway was conscious of a commotion on the stairs, 
some visitor making his way up to him ; his man-servant 
offering a useless opposition. 

" What on earth does John mean ? He must be a fool — 
letting people come up here ! " thought Mr. Galloway, apos- 
trophizing his many years' faithful servitor " It can never be 
the Dean ! " 

That any other living man, whether church dignitary or 
ordinary mortal, would venture to invade his sanctum, take 
him by storm in his own chamber, was beyond belief Mr. 
Gallowa}', all fluttered and fevered, pushed his white night- 
cap a little higher, turned his wondering face to the door, and 
listened. 

" If he is neither in bed nor undressed, as you say, I can see 
him up here just as well as below , so don't bother, old John," 
were the words that indistinctly caught the disturbed invalid's 
ear : and somehow the voice seemed to strike upon some chord 
of memory. " I say, old John, you don't get younger," it 
went on ; " what's become of your hair ? Is this the room ? — 
it used to be." 

Roland Yorkc. *'ai 



33^ ROLAND YORKE. 

Without more ado, the door was flung open, and the visitor 
stepped over the threshold. Invader and invaded gazed at 
each other. The one saw an old man, who appeared shrunken 
in spite of his wraps, with a red face, crowned by a cotton 
night-cap, a flaxen curl or two peeping out above the amazed 
eyes, and a basin of steaming gruel beside him t the other saw 
a tall, fine, well-dressed young fellow, whose face, like the 
voice, struck on the chords of memory. John spoke up from 
behind. 

" It's Mr. Roland Yorke, sir. He would not be stayed : he 
would come up in spite of me." 

" Goodness bless me ! " exclaimed the bewildered proctor. 

Putting down his hat and a small brown-paper parcel that he 
carried, Roland advanced to Mr. Galloway, nearly upsetting 
the stand and the gruel, which John had to rush forward to 
save — and held out his hand. 

"I don't know whether you'll shake it, sir, after the way we 
parted, /am willing." 

"The way of parting was yours, Mr. Roland, not mine," 
was the answer. But Mr. Galloway did shake the hand, and 
Roland sat down by the fire, uninvited, making himself at 
home, as usual. 

" What's amiss, sir ? " he asked, as John went away. " Got 
the mumps ? Is that gruel ? Horrid composition ! I think 
it must have been invented for our sins. You must be uncom- 
monly ill, sir, to swallow that stuff"." 

" And what in the world brings you down here at this hour, 
frightening quiet people out of their senses ? " demanded Mr. 
Galloway, paying no attention to Roland's questions. " I'm 
sure / thought it was the fire-engine." 

" The train brought me," replied matter-of-fact Roland. " I 
had meant to get here by an earlier one, but things went cross 
and contrary up in town." 

" That was no reason why you should knock my door 
down." 

"Oh, that was only my impatience: my mind's frightfully 
worried," penitently acknowledged Roland. " I hope you'll 
forgive me, sir. I've come from London, Mr. Galloway, about 
this miserable business concerning Arthur Channing. We 
want to know where you sent him to ? " 

Mr. Galloway, his doubts as to fire-engines set at rest, had 
been cooling down ; but the name made him hot again. He 



Mr. galloway invaded. 339 

had grown to like Arthur more than he would have cared to 
acknowledge ; and the idea flashed into his mind that some 
untoward fate had overtaken him. and Roland's errand was to 
break the news. 

" Is Arthur dead ? " he questioned, in low tones, 

" / think so," answered Roland. " But he has not turned 
up yet, dead or alive. I'm sure it's not for the want of 
being looked after. I've pretty well spent my time since he 
was missing, between Waterloo Bridge and the East India 
Docks." 

" Then you've not come down to say he is found ? " 

" No : only to ask you where you sent him that night, that 
he may be found." 

When the explanation was complete, Roland of course 
discovered that he had had his journey for nothing, and would 
have done well to take the opinion of Hamish Channing. 
Every tittle of information that Mr. Galloway was able to give, 
he had already written to Hamish : not a thought, not a 
supposition, but he had imparted it in full. As to Roland's 
idea, that business might have carried Arthur to dishonest 
neighbourhoods in London, Mr. Galloway positively nega- 
tived it. 

" He had nothing to do for me in such places, and I'm sure 
he had nothing of his own." 

Roland sat, feeling very gloomy. In his sanguine way, he 
had been buoying himself with a hope that grew and grew all 
the way down : so that when he arrived at Mr. Galloway's he 
had almost persuaded himself that if Arthur was not there in 
person, news of him certainly would be. Hence the impatient 
summons at the door. 

" I know he is at the bottom of the Thames ! I did hope 
you could throw some light on it that you might have forgotten 
to tell, Mr. Galloway." 

" Forgotten ! " returned Mr. Galloway, slightly agitated. *' If 
I remembered my sins, young man, as well as I remember all 
connected with him, I might be the better for it. His disap- 
pearance has made me ill ; that's what it has done ; and I'm 
not sure but it will kill me. When a steady, honourable, God- 
fearing young man like Arthur Channing, whose heart I verily 
believe was as much in heaven as on earth ; when such a man 
disappears at night in this mysterious manner in London, and 
cannot be traced or found, nothing but the worst is to be 



340 kOLAND YORKE 

apprehended. 1 believe Arthur Channing to haVe been mur- 
dered for the money he had about him." 

Mr. Galloway seized his handkerchief, and rubbed his hot 
face. It was the precise view Roland had taken of the matter ; 
and, to have it thus confirmed by Mr. Galloway, seemed to 
drive all hope out of him for good. 

" And I never had the opportunity of atoning to him for tlie 
past, you see, Mr. Galloway ! It will stick in my memory for 
life. I would rather have been murdered myself ten times 
over." 

" I gave my consent to his going up with reluctance," said 
Mr. Galloway, seeming to be repeating the fact for his own 
benefit rather than for Roland's. " What did it signify whether 
Charles was met in London, or not? If he could find his way 
to London from Marseilles alone, surely he might find it alone 
to Helstonleigh ! Our busy time, the November audit, is 
approaching : but it was not that thought that swayed me, but 
an unconscious instinct. Arthur said he had not had a holiday 
for two years ; said that business wanted the presence of one 
of us in London : all true, and I yielded. And this has come 
of it!" 

Mr. Galloway gave his face another rub. The night-cap fell 
off during the performance, admitting the curls to full view. 
In spite of Roland's despairing state, he took advantage of the 
occasion. 

" I say, Mr. Galloway, your hair is not as luxuriant as it 
used to be." 

"It's something like me, then," returned Mr. Galloway, 
who was too much depressed to resent personal remarks. 
" What will become of us all without Arthur, setting aside the 
awful calamity to himself, I cannot imagine. Look at his 
mother ! He almost supported the house • Mrs. Channing's 
own income is only a trifle, and Tom can't as yet give much. 
Look at me ! What on earth I shall do without him at the 
office, never can be surmised ! " 

" My goodness ! " cried modest Roland. " You'll be almost 
as much put to it, sir, as you were when I went off to Port 
Natal." 

Mr. Galloway coughed. " Almost," assented he, rather 
satirically. " Why, Roland Yorke," he burst forth, impetu- 
ously, "if you had been with me from then until now, aban- 
doned all your lazy tricks, and gone in for hard work, not a 



MR. GALLOWAY INVADED. 341 

day's holiday or an hour's play, you could never have made 
yourself half as capable and clever as Arthur." 

" Well, you see, Mr. Galloway, my talents don't lie so much 
in sticking to a desk as in knocking about," good-humouredly 
avowed Roland. " But I do go in for hard work ; I do 
indeed." 

"I hear you didn't make a fortune at Port Natal, young 
man ! " 

Roland, open as ever, gave a brief summary of what he had 
done instead — starved, worked as a labourer, when he could 
get work to do, driven pigs, and returned home out at elbows. 

" No one need reproach me ; it was worse for me than for 
them — but lots of people do reproach me. I tried my best ; 
and I'm trying still. It did me one service, Mr. Galloway — 
took all pride and laziness out of me. But for the lessons I 
learnt at Port Natal, I should have continued a miserable hum- 
bug to the end of the chapter, shirking work on my own score, 
and looking to other folks to keep me. I'm trying to do my 
best honestly, and to make my way. The returns are not 
grand yet, but such as they are I'm living on them, and they 
may get better by-and-by. Rome was not built in a day. I 
went out to Port Natal to set good old Arthur right with the 
world ; I couldn't bring myself to make the confession, that 
you know of, sir, while I stopped here. I thought to make my 
fortune also, a few millions, or so. I didn't do it ; it was alto- 
gether a failure, but it made a better man of me." 

" Glad to hear it," said Mr. Galloway. 

He watched the earnest, eager face, bent towards him ; 
noted the genuine, truthful tones ; and the conclusion he drew 
was that Roland might not be, making an uncertain boa;:*-. 
But it seemed incredible, taking into recollection his former 
experience of that gentleman. 

"And when I've got on, so as to make a couple of hundred 
a year or so, I am going to get married, Mr. Galloway." 

" In — deed ! " exclaimed Mr. Galloway, staring very much. 
" Is the lady fixed upon ? " 

" Well, yes : and I don't mind telling you, if you'll keep the 
secret and not repeat it up and down the town : I don't fancy 
she'd like it talked about yet. It's Annabel Channing." 

" Annabel Channing ! " echoed Mr. Galloway, in doubtful 
surprise. " Has she said she'll have you ? " 

" I am not so sure she has said it. She me.ins it." 



312 ROLAND YORKE. 

"Why she — she is one of the best and sweetest girls living; 
she might marry almost any one ; almost a lord," burst forth 
Mr. Galloway, with a touch of his former gossiping propensity. 

Roland's eyes sparkled. " So she might, sir. But she'll 
wait for me. And she does not expect riches, either, but will 
put her shoulder to the wheel with me and be content to work 
and help until riches come." 

Mr, Galloway gave a sound of disbelief. He might be par- 
doned if he treated this in his own mind simply as a delusion 
on Roland's part. He liked Annabel almost as well as he had 
liked Arthur ; and he looked upon Mr. Roland as a knight- 
errant, not very likely to do good to himself or others. Roland 
rose. 

" I must be off," he said. " I've still my mother to see. 
Well, this is a pill — to find you've no clue to give me. Hamish 
said it would be so." 

"I hear Hamish Channing is ill?" 

" He is not ill, that I know of. He looks it. You would 
think that a puff of wind would blow him away." 

" Disappointed in his book ? " 

" Well, I suppose so. It's an awful sin, though, for it to 
have been written down — whoever did it." 

" I should call it a swindle," corrected Mr. Galloway. "A 
bare-faced swindle. The public ought to be put right, if there 
were any way of doing it." 

" Did you read the book, Mr, Galloway ? " 

" Yes ; and then went forthwith and bought it. And I read 
Gerald's," 

" That 7vas a beauty, wasn't it ? " cried sarcastic Roland. 

" Without paint," pursued Mr. Galloway, in the same strain. 
" It was just worth throwing on the fire leaf by leaf; that's my 
opinion of Gerald's book. But it got the reviews, Roland." 

" And be shot to it ! We can't understand the riddle up in 
London, sir." 

" I'm sure we can't down here," emphatically repeated Mr. 
Galloway, " Well, good night : I'm not sorry to have seen 
you. When are you going back again ? " 

"To-morrow. And I'd rather have gone a hundred miles 
the other way than come near Helstonleigh. I shall take care 
to go and see no one here, except Mrs. Channing. If " 

" You must not speak of Arthur to Mrs. Channing," inter- 
rupted the proctor. 



MR. GALLOWAY INVADED. 343 

" Not speak of him ! " 

" She knew nothing about his loss : it has been kept from 
her. She thinks he is in Paris with Charles. In her delicate 
state of health she would hardly bear the prolonged sus- 
pense." 

" It's a good thing you told me," said Roland, heartily. " I 
hope I shan't let it out. Good night, sir. I must not forget 
this, though ! " he added, taking up the parcel. " It contains 
a clean shirt and a collar." 

" Where are you going to sleep ? " 

Roland paused. Until that moment the thought had never 
struck him where he was to sleep. 

" I dare say they can give me a shake-down at the mother's. 
The hearth-rug will do : I'm not particular. I used to go in 
for a feather-bed and two pillows once upon a time. My 
goodness ! What a selfish young lunatic I was ! " 

" If they can't manage it, perhaps we can give you a sliake- 
down here," said Mr. Galloway. " But don't ring the house 
down if you come back to it." 

" Thank you, sir," said Roland, gratefully. " I wonder all 
you old friends are so good to me," 

He clattered down, and found himself in the Boundaries. 
When he had passed through them ten minutes before, he was 
bearing on all too fiercely to Mr. Galloway's to note a single 
feature. Time had been when Roland would not have cared 
for old memories. They came crowding on him now, the dear 
life-associations, the events and interests of his boyhood, like 
green resting-places in a sandy desert. The cathedral clock 
rang out the three-quarters past ten, and helped the delusion. 
Opposite to him rose the time-honoured edifice, worn by the 
defacing yet beautifying hand of centuries. Renovation had 
been going on for a long time ; the pinnacles were new; old 
buildings, that formerly partially obscured it, had been re- 
moved, and it stood out as Roland had never before seen it. 
It was a bright night ; the moon shone as clearly as it had 
done on that early March night which ushered in the prologue 
of this story. It brought into relief the fretwork of the dear 
old cathedral ; lighted up the gables of the quaint houses of 
the Boundaries, all shapes and sizes in architecture ; it rested 
on the grass enclosed by the broad gravel walks, which the 
stately dames of the still more stately church dignitaries once 
cared to pace. But where were the tall old elm-trees — through 



344 ROLAND YORKE, 

whose foliage the moonbeams ought to have flickered ? Where 
were the rooks that used to build in them, wiling the poor 
college boys, at their Latin and Greek hard by, with their 
friendly croaks and caws? Gone. Roland looked up and 
marvelled. An apology for the trees was indeed left ; but 
topped and lopped and bared. The spreading branches had 
been removed, and the homeless rooks had been driven away, 
wanderers. 

" It's nothing less than sacrilege," spoke bold Roland, when 
he had done staring. " It will certainly bring good luck to no 
one." 

He could not resist crossing the Boundaries to the little 
iron gate admitting to the cloisters. It would not admit him 
to-night. The cloister porter, successor to Mr John Ketch of 
cross-grained memory, had locked it hours ago, and the key 
hung safely by his bedsidi in his lodge. This was the gate 
through which poor Charley Channing had innocently gone, to 
be frightened all but to death, that night memorable in the 
annals of the college school. Charley was now a flourish- 
ing young clerk in India (at the present moment supposed to 
be enjoying Paris), likely to rise to fame and fortune, health 
permitting. Many a time and oft, had Roland himself dashed 
through the gate, surplice on arm, in a white heat lest he 
should be marked " late." How the shouts of the boys used 
to echo along the vaulted roof of the cloisters ! How they 
seemed to echo in the heart of Roland now ! Times had 
changed. Things had changed. He had changed. A new 
set of boys filled the school ; some of the clergy were fresh in 
the cathedral. The bishop, gone to his account, had been re- 
placed by a better : a once great and good preacher, who was 
wont in times long gone by to fill the cathedral with his 
hearers, had followed him. In Roland's own family, and in 
that of one with whom they had been very intimately associ ■ 
ated, there were changes. George Yorke was no more ; 
Gerald had risen to be a great man ; he, Roland, had fallen, 
and was of no account in the world. ISIr. Channing had died ; 
Hamish was dying 

How came that last thought to steal into his mind. He did 
not k?tow. It had never occurred to him before : why should 
it have done so now ? Ah, he might ask himself the question, 
but he couid not answer it. Buried in reflections of the past 
and present, one thought leading on to another, it had arisen^ 



MR. GALLOWAY INVADED. 345 

Roland knew not whence, and startling him to terror. His 
pulse quickened, his face grew hot. 

" I think I must have been in a dream," debated Roland, 
" or else moonstruck. Sunny Hamish ! as if the world could 
afford to lose him ! No one but a donkey whose brains had 
been knocked out of him at Port Natal, would have such 
wicked fancies." 

He turned the corner, and looked out for the windows of his 
mother's house. They were not difficult to see, for in every 
one of them shone a blaze of light. The sweet white radiance 
of the moon, never to be equalled by earthly invention, was 
eclipsed by the garish red of the windows. Lady Augusta 
Yorke evidently had an assembly. 

" Was ever the like bother known ! " spoke R.oland aloud, 
halting in the quiet spot. "She has all the world and his wife 
there. And I didn't want a soul to know that I was at 
Helstonleigh ! " 

He took his resolution at once, went on, and made for a 
small side-door. A smart maid stood at it, flirting with a foot- 
man from one of the waiting carriages. Roland went in head 
foremost, saying nothing, passing swiftly through passages and 
up the stairs. The girl took him for a robber, or some evil 
character, and stared in wonder. But she was not wanting in 
courage, and went after him. He had made his way to what 
used to be his sister's schoolroom in Miss Channing's time; 
the open door displayed .a table temptingly set out with re- 
freshments, and no one was in it. When the maid arrived, 
Roland, his hat on a chair and his parcel on the floor, was 
devouring sandwiches. 

"Why, what on earth!" she began, " My patience I who 
are you, sir? How dare you? " 

"Who am I ?" said Roland. "You just go and fetch Lady 
Augusta here. Say a gentleman wants to see her. Tell her 
privately, mind." 

The girl, in sheer amazement, did as she was bid : whisper- 
ing her own comments to her mistress. 

" I'd be aware of him, my lady, if I were you, please. It 
might be a maniac, I'm sure the way he's gobbling up the 
victuals don't look like nothing else." 

Lady Augusta Yorke, slightly fluttered, took the precaution 
to draw with her her youngest son, Harry, a stalwart king's 
scholar of seventeea Advancing dubiously to the interview, 



346 ROLAND YORKE. 

she peeped in, and saw the intruder, a great tall fellow, whose 
back was towards her, swallowing down big table-spoonfuls of 
custard. The sight aroused Lady Augusta's anger: there 
would be a famine ; nothing left for her hungry guests. In 
she burst, something after Roland's own fashion, words of 
reproach on her tongue. Harry gazed in doubt; the maid 
brought up the rear. 

Roland turned, full of affection, dropped the spoon into the 
custard dish, and flew to embrace her, 

"How are you, mother darling? It's only me." 
And the Lady Augusta Yorke, between surprise at the 
meeting, a little joy, and a good deal of vexation on the score 
of her diminishing supper, was somewhat overwhelmed, and 
sank into a chair in screaming hysterics. 



CHAPTER VII L 

PAST AND PRESENT. 



The college bell was tolling for morning prayers : and the 
Helstonleigh College boys were coming up in groups and 
disappearing within the little cloister gate, their white surplices 
on their arms, just as Roland Yorke had seen them in his 
visions the previous night. It was the first of November : a 
saint's day ; and a great one, as every one knows; consequently 
the school had holiday, and the king's scholars attended divine 
service. 

Roland was amidst them, having come out after breakfast to 
give as he said a "look round." The morning was well on 
when he awoke up from the couch prepared for him at Lady 
Augusta's : a soft bed with charming pillows, not a temporary 
shake-down on the hearth-rug. They had sat up the previous 
night, after Lady Augusta's guests had left, talking of old times 
and new ones. Roland freely confessed his penniless state, 
his present mode of living, with all its shifts and drawbacks, 
the pound a week that Mrs. Jones made do for all, the brushing 
of his own clothes, if not the blacking of his own boots : which 
sent his mother into a fit of reproaching sobs. In his sanguine 
manner he enlarged upon the fortune that was sure to be his 



PAST AND PRESENT. 347 

some time (" a few hundreds a year and a house of his own "), 
and made her and his two sisters the most hberal promises on 
the strength of it. Caroline Yorke turned from him : he had 
lost caste in her eyes. Fanny, with her sweet voice and gentle 
smile, whispered him to work on bravely, never fearing. The 
two girls were essentially different. Constance Channing had 
done her utmost with both : they had gone to Hazledon with 
her when she became William Yorke's wife ; but her patient 
training had borne different fruit. 

Roland dashed first of all into Mr. Galloway's, to ask if he 
had news of Arthur. " No, none," Mr. Galloway answered, with 
a groan, and it "would surely be the death of him." As 
Roland left the proctor's house, he saw the college boys flock- 
ing into the cloisters, and went in with them. Renovation 
seemed to be going on ever}- where ; beauty had succeeded 
dilapidations, and the old cathedral might well raise her head 
proudly now. But Roland did wonder when the improve- 
ments and the work would be completed ; they had been going 
on as long as he could remember. 

But the cloisters had not moved or changed their form, and 
Roland lost himself in the days of the past. One of the pre- 
bendaries, new since Roland's time, was turning into the 
chapter-house; Roland, from old associations, unconsciously 
took off his hat to him. In imagination he was a king's 
scholar again, in mortal dread, when in those cloisters, of the 
Dean and Chapter. 

"I say — you," said he, seizing a big boy, who had his 
surplice flung across his shoulder in a most untidy and 
crumpled fashion, " show me Joe Jenkins's grave." 

"Yes, sir," answered the boy, wondering what fine imperative 
gentleman had come amidst them, and speaking civilly, lest 
it might be a connection of one of the prebendaries. " It's 
round on the other side." 

Passing along to the end of the north cloister, near to the 
famous "Miserrimus" grave-stone, near to the spot where a 
ghost had once appeared to Charles Channing, he pointed to 
an obscure corner of the green graveyard, which the cloisters 
enclosed. Many and many a time had Roland perched him- 
self on those dilapidated window-frames in the days gone by. 

"It's there," said the boy. "Old Ketch, the cloister porter, 
lies on this side him." 

"Oh, Ketch does, does he! I wonder whose doings that 



348 ROLAND YORKE. 

was ! It's a shame to have placed a cross-grained old wretch 
side by side with poor Jenkins." 

"Jenkins was cross-grained too, for the matter of that," 
cried the boy. " He was always asking the fellows for a tip to 
buy baccy, and grumbling if they did not give it." 

Roland stared indignantly. " Jenkins was ! Why, what are 
you talking of? Jenkins never smoked." 

"Oh, didn't he though! Why, he died smoking; he was 
smoking always. Pretty well, that, for an old man of seventy- 
six." 

"I'm not talking of old Jenkins," cried Roland. "Who 
wants to know about him ? — what a senseless fellow you are ! 
It's young Jenkins. Joe ; who was at Galloway's." 

" Oh, him ! He was buried in front, not here. " I can't 
go round to show you, sir, for time's up." 

The boy took to his heels, as only schoolboys can take to 
them, and Roland heard him rattle up the steps of the college 
hall to join his comrades. Propped against the framework, 
his memory lost itself in many things ; and the minutes passed 
unheeded. The procession of king's scholars aroused hmi. 
They filed along the cloisters from the college hall, two and 
two, in their surplices and trenchers, his brother Harry, one 
of the seniors, almost the last of them. When they had dis- 
appeared, Roland ran round to the front graveyard. Between 
the cathedral gates and those leading to the palace, stood a 
black-robed verger, with his silver mace, waiting the appearance 
of the Dean. Roland accosted the man and asked him to 
point out Joe Jenkins's grave. 

"That's it, sir," and the verger indicated a flat stone, nearly 
hidden by the grass. " You can't miss it : his name's there." 

Roland went into the burial-ground. Yes, there it was. 
"Joseph Jenkins. Aged thirty-nine." He stood looking at 
it for some minutes. 

" If ever I get rich, Joe, poor meek old fellow, you shall 
have a better monument," spoke Roland, aloud. "This com- 
mon stone, Mrs. J.'s no doubt, shall be replaced by white 
marble, and we'll have your virtues inscribed on it." 

The quarter-past ten chimed out ; the bell ceased, and the 
swell of the organ was heard. Service had begun in the 
cathedral. Roland went about, reading, or trying to read, 
other inscriptions ; he surveyed the well-remembered houses 
around ; he shaded his eyes from the sun, and looked up to 



PAST AND PRESENT. 349 

take leisurely notice of the outer renovations of the cathedral. 
Tired of this, it suddenly occurred to him that he would go in 
to service ; *' just for old memories' sake." 

In he went ; never heeding the fact that service had com- 
menced, and that it used not to be the custom for an intruder 
to enter the choir afterwards. Straight on went he to the 
choir gates, not making for either of the aisles, as a modest 
man would have done, pushed aside the purple curtain, and 
let himself into a stall on the decani side ; to the intense 
indignation of the sexton, who marvelled that any living man 
should possess sufficient impudence for it. When Roland 
looked up, and had opened the large Prayer-book lying before 
him, the chanter had come to that portion of the service, "O 
Lord, open Thou our lips." It was a pleasant voice, full of 
melody. A thoroughly good chanter, decided Roland, reared 
to be critical in such matters ; and he took a survey of him. 
The chanter was on the cantori side, almost opposite to 
Roland; a good-looking, open-faced young clergyman, with 
brown hair, whose face seemed to strike another familiar chord 
on Roland's memory. 

" If I don't beheve it's Tom ! " thought Roland. 

Tom it was. But it slightly discomposed the equanimity 
of the Reverend Thomas Channing to find the stalwart dis- 
turber, at whom every one had stared, and the Dean himself 
had glanced at, telegraphing a couple of nods to him, in what 
seemed the exuberance of delight. The young chanter's face 
turned red ; he certainly did not telegraph back again. 

Thus tacitly repulsed, Roland had leisure to look about him, 
and did so to his heart's content, while the Venite and the 
Psalms for the day were being sung. Almost side by side 
with himself, at the chanting desk, though not used for chanting 
to-day, he discovered his kinsman, William Yorke. And the 
Reverend William kept his haughty shoulder turned away ; 
and had felt ready to faint when Roland had burst in through 
the closed curtains. He, and Tom Channing, and the head- 
master of the school were the three minor canons present. 

Oh, how like the old days it all was I The Dean in his stall ; 
the sub-dean on the left, and the new prebendary, whom 
Roland did not know. There stood the choristers at their 
desks; here, on the flags, the king's scholars, in their white 
surplices. There was a new head-master in Mr. Pye's place, 
and Roland did not know him. The last time Roland had 



3§o ROLAND VORKE. 

attended service in the cathedral — and he remembered it well- 
Arthur Channing had taken the organ. He had ceased to 
take it for several years now, excepting for pleasure on some 
chance occasion. Where was Arthur now? Could it be that 
he " was not ? " What with the chilliness of the thought and 
the chilliness of the edifice, Roland shivered. 

But they are beginning the First Lesson — part of a chapter 
in Wisdom, William Yorke reading it With the first sen- 
tences Arthur was brought more forcibly into Roland's mind. 

"But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, 
and there shall no torment touch them. In the sight of the 
unwise they seemed to die : and their departure is taken for 
misery, and their going from us to be utter destruction : but 
they are in peace." 

And so on to the end. Sitting back in his stall, subdued 
and quiet now, all his curiosity suppressed, Roland could only 
think how applicable the Lesson was to Arthur. Whether 
living or dead, he must be at peace, for God had surely proved 
him and found him worthy for Himself Roland Yorke had 
not learnt yet to be what Arthur was ; but a feeling, it might 
be called a hope, stole over him then for the first time in his 
life that the change would come. " Annabel will help me," 
he thought. 

When service was over, Roland greeted all he cared for of 
those who remembered him. Passing up the aisle to join Tom 
Channing in the vestry (where the first thing he did was to try 
on the young parson's surplice and hood), he met his kinsman 
coming from it. Roland turned his shoulder now, and his 
cold sweeping bow, when the minor canon stopped to speak, 
would have done honour to a monarch. William Yorke 
walked on, biting his lips between amusement and vexation. 
As Roland and Thomas Channing were going through the 
Boundaries, a rather short, red-faced, pleasant-looking young 
man met them, and stayed to shake hands with the minor 
canon. It was Stephen Bywater. Roland knew him at once : 
his saucy face was not a whit altered. Bywater had come into 
no end of property in the West Indies (as Tom afterwards 
explained to Roland), and was in Europe for a short sojourn. 

" How's Ger ? " asked Bywater, when they had spoken of 
Arthur and general news. 



MSf AND PRESENT. 351 

" A great man," answered Roland. " Looks over my head 
if he meets me in the street. I might have knocked him 
down before now, Bywater, but for having left my manners at 
Port Natal." 

"Oh, that's it, is it?" cried Bywater. " Ger is Ger still, 
I see. Does he remember the ink-bottle ? " 

" What ink-bottle ? " 

" And the tanning Pye gave him ? " 

Roland did not understand. The termination of that little 
episode of schoolboy life had taken place after he had left 
Helstonleigh, and it was never related to him. Stephen 
Bywater recited it with full flavour now. 

"Ger's not so white himself, then," remarked Roland. 
" He's ahvays throwing that bank-note of Galloway's in my 
teeth." 

" Is he ? I once told him he was a cur," added Bywater, 
quietly. "Good-bye, old fellow; we shall meet again, I hope." 

Mrs. Channing was delighted to see Roland. But when he 
spoke to her of Annabel she broke into laughter, just as her 
son Hamish had done. It slightly disconcerted the bridegroom 
in embryo. Considering that in three or four months, as he 
now openly confessed, he had saved up two pounds towards 
commencing housekeeping — and those had been spent, — Mrs. 
Channing thought his prospects about as hopeless as any she 
had ever heard of. Roland came to the conclusion that he 
must make the two hundred a year before speaking again. 
He remembered the warning ]\Ir. Galloway had given him 
regarding Arthur, and got away in safety. 

Home again at Lady Augusta's, -where he stayed till past 
midday, and then started to take the train for London. 
Fearing there might be a procession to escort him, the old 
family barouche, or something of that sort, for Roland re- 
membered his mother of old, he stole a march on them and 
got out alone, his brown-paper parcel in his hand and three or 
four smaller ones, containing toys and cakes that Fanny was 
sending to Gerald's children. Remembering Mr. Butterby's 
friendly caution, his intention had been to dash through the 
streets at full speed. But the well-known spots had charms 
for Roland, and he halted to gaze at nearly every step. The 
Guildhall, the market-house, the churches : all the old familiar 
places that had become memories when far away from them. 
Before Mrs. Jenkins's house he came to a full stop ; not the 



353 ROLAND YORKE. 

house in which Mr. Ollivera had met his death, but the smaller 
dwelling beside it. From the opposite side of the way stood 
Roland, while he gazed. The shop sold other wares now; 
but Roland had no difficulty in recognizing it. In the parlour 
he had revelled in the luxury of tea and toasted muffins ; in 
that top room, whose windows faced him, poor humble 
Jenkins had died. Away on at last up the street, he and his 
parcels, looking to the right and left. Once upon a time the 
Lady Augusta Yorke, seduced by certain visions imparted to 
her by Roland, had gone to bed and dreamt of driving about 
a charming city whose streets were paved with malachite 
marble ; many a time and oft had poor Roland dreamt of the 
charms of these Helstonleigh streets when he was fighting with 
starvation at Port Natal. Looking upon them now, he rubbed 
his eyes in doubt and wonder. Could these be the fine wide 
streets of the former days ? They seemed to have strangely 
contracted, to be mean and shabby. The houses appeared 
poor, the very Guildhall itself small. The gold had lost its 
brightness. 

Roland walked on with the slow step of disappointment, 
scanning the faces he met. He knew none of them. Eight 
years had passed since his absence, and the place and the 
people were changed to him. Involuntarily the words of that 
beautiful song, which most of us know by heart, came surging 
up to his memory, as he gazed wistfully from side to side, 

" Strange to me now are the forms I meet 
When I visit the dear old town." 

Strange enough. Was it for this he had returned ? Often 
and often during his wanderings in the far-away African land, 
had other lines of the same sweet song beaten their refrain in 
his brain when yearning for Helstonleigh. There was a cer- 
tain amount of sentiment in Roland Yorke, for all his straight- 
forward, matter-of-fact temperament. 

"Often I think of the beautiful town 
That is seated by the sea ; 
Often in thought go up and down 
The pleasant streets of that dear old town. 
And my youth comes back to me. 
And a verse of a Lapland song 
Is haunting my memory still : 
' A boy's will is the wind's will, 
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts. 



PAST AND PRESENT. 353 

" I can see the shadowy lines of its trees, 
And catch in sudden gleams 
The sheen of the far-surrounding seas 
And islands that were the Hesperides 
Of all my boyish dreams. 

And the burden of that old song, 
It murmurs and whispers still : 
'A boy's will is the wind's will, 
And the thoughts of youth are long, long ihoughts.' " 

There were no seas around Helstonleigh, but the resemblance 
was sufficient for Roland, as it has been for others. Other verses 
of the song seemed to be strangely realized to him now, as he 
walked along. 

" There are things of which I may not speak ; 
There are dreams that cannot die ; 
There are thoughts that make the strong heart weak, 
And bring a pallor into the cheek. 
And a mist before the eye. 

And the words of that fatal song 
Come over me like a chili : 
' A boy's will is the wind's will, 
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts.' 

" I can see the breezy dome of groves, 
The shadows of Deering's woods ; 
And the friendships old and the early loves 
Come back with a Sabbath sound, as of doves 
In quiet neighbourhoods. 

And the verse of that sweet old song, 
It flutters and murmurs still : 
'A boy's will is the wind's will, 
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts.' 

"And Deering's woods are fresh and fair. 
And with joy that is almost pain 
My heart goes back to wander there ; 
And among the dreams of the day that were 
I find my lost youth again. 

And the strange and beautiful song, 
The groves are repeating it still : 
'A boy's will is tire wind's will, 
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts.' " 

Believe it or not as you will, of practical, matter-of-facf 
Roland, these oft-quoted lines (but never too often) beat their 
refrain in his brain as he paced the streets of Helstonleigh, just 
as they had done in exile. 

He went round by Hazledon ; and William Yorke came- 
forward in the hall to meet him, with outstretched hand. 

Roland Yorke. 23 



354 ROLAND YORKE. 

"I knew you would not leave without coming in." 
" It's to see Constance, not you," answered Roland. 
Constance was ready for him ; the same sweet womail 
Roland in his earlier days had thought the perfection of all 
that was fair and excellent He thought her so still. She 
had her children brought down, and took the baby in her 
arms. Roland made them brilliant prospective offerings in 
the shape of dolls and rocking-horses ■ and whispered to their 
mother his romance about Annabel. She wished him good 
luck, laughing the while. 

" When William was in London this summer he thought 
Hamish looking a little thin," said Constance. " Is he well ? " 
"Oh, he's well enough," answered Roland. But his face 
flushed as he spoke, for the question recalled the strange 
thought that had flashed unbidden into his mind the past 
night; and Mr. Roland took guilt to himself for it, and 
resented it accordingly. " You never saw such a lovely little 
fairy as Nelly is." 

But he had no time to linger. Roland went out on the run ; 
and just fell into the arms of a certain Mr. Simms : one of the 
few individuals he had particularly hoped to avoid. 

Mr. Simms knew him. That it was a Yorke there could be 
no doubt about ; and a moment's pause sufficed to show him 
that it was no other than the truant Roland. Civilly, but firmly, 
Mr. Simms arrested his progress. 
''Is it you, Mr. Roland Yorke?" 

"Yes, it's me," said Roland. "I'm only at Helstonleigh 
for a few hours, and was in hopes of getting off again without 
meeting any of you," he candidly added. " You're fit to 
swear at me, I suppose, Simms, for never having sent you the 
money?" 

" I certainly expected to be paid long before this, Mr. 
Yorke." 

"So did I," said Roland. "I'd have sent it you had I 
been able. I would, Simms; honour bright. How much is 
it? Five pounds ?" 

"And seven shillings added to it." 

"Ay. I've got the list somewhere. It's over forty pounds 
that I owe in the place altogether ; getting on for fifty : and 
every soul of you shall be paid with interest as soon as I can 
scrape the money together. I've had nothing but ill-luck since 
I left here, Simms, and it has not turned yet." 



MSt AND PRESENT. 3S5 

'• It was said you went to foreign parts to make your fortune, 
Sir, My lady iierself told me you were safe to come home with 
one." 

"And I thought I was," gloomily answered Roland. "In- 
stead of that, Simms, I arrived without a shirt to my back. 
I've gone in for work this many a year now, but somehow 
fortune's not with me. I work daily, every bit as hard and 
long as you do, Simms; perhaps harder; and I can scarce 
keep myself. I've not been able to do a stroke since this 
dreadful business about Arthur Channing. It is that which 
brought me down here." 

" Is he found, sir ? We shouldn't like to lose such a one as 
hini." 

" He's neither found nor likely to be," said Roland, shaking 
his head. " Old Galloway declares it will be his death: I'm 
not sure but it will be mine. And now I must be off, Simms, 
and I leave you my honest word that I'll send you the money 
as soon as ever it is in my power. I should like to pay you all 
with interest. You shall be the first of them to get it." 

" I suppose you couldn't pay me a trifle off it now, Mr. 
Yorke? A pound or so." 

"Bless your heart! "cried Roland, in wide astonishment. 
" A pound or so ! I don't possess it. I pawned my black 
dress-suit for thirty shillings to come down here, and travelled 
third-class. Good-bye, old Simms , I shall lose the train." 

He went off like a shot. IMr Simms, looking after the well- 
dressed gentleman, did not know what to make of the plea of 
poverty. 

Roland went whirling back to London again, third-class, 
and arrived at the Paddington Station in a fever. That the 
worst had happened to Arthur, whatever that worst might be, he 
no longer entertained a shadow of doubt. His thirty shillings 
(we might never have known he had been so rich but for the 
candid avowal to Mr. Simms) were not quite exhausted, and 
Roland threw his parcels into a hansom and drove down to 
Mrs. Gerald Yorke's. 

To find that lady in tears was nothing unusual ; the rule, in 
fact, rather than the exception. She was seated on the floor 
by the firelight in the approaching twilight, the three little girls 
with her. Her grief was not much more than usual. Gerald 
had been home, and in a fit of bitter anger had absolutely for- 
bidden her to take the children to drink tea with little Nelly 



356 ROLAND YORKE. 

Channing at four o'clock, as invited. Four o'clock had struck ; 
five too ; and the disappointed mother and children had cried 
through the hour. 

"It is too bad of Gerald," cried sympathizing Roland, put- 
ting his parcels on the table. 

"Yes, it is; not to let us go ihen,^^ sobbed Mrs. Y^orke. 
"All Gerald's money is gone, too, and he went off without 
telling me when I said I must have some. I don't possess as 
much as a fourpenny-piece in the world ; and we've not an atom 
of tea or butter in the house and can have no tea at home, and 
we've only one scuttle of coals left, for I've just rung for some, 
and the girl says so, and — oh, I wish I was dead ! " 

Roland felt in his pockets, and found three shillings and 
twopence. It was all he possessed. This he put on the table, 
wishing it was fifty times as much. His heart was good to help 
the Avhole world. 

"I'm ashamed of its being such a trifle," said he, in mortifica- 
tion. " If I were rich I should be glad to help you all. Per- 
haps it will buy some butter, and a little tea, and a few coals." 

"And for him to forbid our going there !" repeated Winny, 
getting up to take the money, and then rocking herself 
violently. " You know the state we were in all the summer : 
Gerald next door to penniless, and going about in fear of the 
bumbailies," she continued, adhering in moments of agitation 
to her provincial expressions. " We wanted everything ; rent, 
clothes, and food ; and if it had not been for a friend who con- 
tinually helped us, we might just have starved.'' 

" It was your mother," said Roland. 

" But it was not my mother," answered Mrs. Yorke, ceasing 
her rocking and leaning forward, her cheeks and eyes bright in 
the flashing firelight. " It was Mr. Channing." 

"What?" 

She could not be reticent, and explained all. How Hamish, 
or his vvife for him, had helped them, even to the paying of 
boot-bills for Gerald. Roland sat amazed. Things that had 
somewhat puzzled even his careless nature were becoming clear 
to him. 

" And Gerald not know of this ? " 

" As if I should dare to tell him ! He thinks it all comes 
from my mother. Oh, Roland, you don't know how good and 
kind Hamish Channing is ! He is more like one of Heaven's 
angels than an ordinary human being. I think, I do really 



PAST AND PRESENT. 3^7 

tbink, I must have died, or come to a bad end, but for him. 
He is the least selfish man I ever knew ; the most thoughtful 
and generous." 

"/ know what Hamish is," assented Roland, with energy. 
•' And to think that he has to bear all this awful sorrow about 
his best brother — Arthur ! " 

"Oh, Arthur is found. He is all right," said Mrs. Yorke, 
quietly. 

" What ! " shouted Roland, starting from his chair. 

" Arthur has been at Marseilles all the time. Hamish had 
a letter from him this morning." 

A prolonged stare from the amazed face that had turned 
to a white heat, and Roland caught up his hat, and went out 
with a dash, Half-a-moment, and he was back again, 
sweeping his parcels from the table to the children on the 
carpet. 

"It's cakes and toys from Fanny," said he. "Go into them, 
you chickens. That other's a shirt, Mrs. Yorke : I can't stay 
for it now." 

On the stairs, as he was leaping down, Roland unfortunately 
encountered the maid carrying up a scuttle of coals. It was 
not a moment for considering maids and scuttles. Down went 
the coals, down went the maid. Roland took a flying leap 
over the debris, and was half-way on his road to Hamish Chan- 
ning's before the bewildered landlady, arriving on the scene, 
could understand what had happened. 

The solution of Avhat had been a most unpleasant mystery 
was so very simple and natural, that the fright and apprehension 
seemed almost like a fraud. It sholl be given at once ; though 
the reader will readily understand that at present Hamish knew 
nothing of the details, but only the bare fact that Arthur was 
alive and well. He would have to wait for them until Arthur's 
return. 

Amongst the letters handed to Arthur Channing by the waiter 
of the hotel that night in Norfolk Street, was one from Marseilles, 
stating that Charles, just before landing, had had a relapse, and 
was lying at Marseilles dangerously ill — his life despaired of. 
Perhaps in the flurry of the moment, Arthur did not and could 
not act as reasonably as he might have done. All his thoughts 
ran on the question — How could he in the shortest possible 
time reach Marseilles ? By starting on the instant — on the very 
instant, mind — and taking a fast cab. he might get to Londoi? 



358 ROLAND YORKE. 

Bridge in time to catch the Dover train. Taking up his hat 
and letters, he went out of the coffee-room caUing for the 
waiter. No one responded : no one, as it would appear, was 
at that moment in the way of hearing him. Afraid of even an 
instant's delay, he did not wait, but left the hotel, hurried up 
Norfolk Street, hailed a passing hansom, and reached London 
Bridge Station just before the train started. From Dover to 
Calais the boat had an exceedingly calm passage, and Arthur 
was able to write some short notes in the cabin. One to the 
hotel that he had, as may be said, run away from, Qne to 
Hamish, one to Roland, one to Mr. Galloway, one to Mr. 
Galloway's London agents. Arthur, always considerate, ever 
willing to spare others pain and anxiety, did not say w/iy he 
was hastening to Marseilles, but merely stated that he had 
determined on proceeding thither, instead of awaiting Charles 
in London. These letters he gave to a French commissionaire 
on landing at Calais, with money for the necessary stamps, and 
a gratuity for himself; ordering him to post them as soon as 
possible. Whether the man quietly pocketed the money and 
suppressed the letters, or whether he had in turn entrusted 
them to some one else to post, who lost, or forgot them, would 
never be ascertained. Arthur, unconscious of the commotion 
he was causing at home, arrived quietly at Marseilles, and there 
found Charles very ill, not quite out of danger. For some days 
he was wholly occupied with him, and did not write at all : as 
he had said nothing about the illness, he knew there could be 
no anxiety about it. Now that he did write, Charles was 
growing rapidly better. It may just be observed, that the letter 
left in the rack of the hotel had served to complicate matters. 
But for that letter it might have been surmised that Arthur had 
received unfavourable news of Charles, and had gone on to him. 
The accident was indeed a singular one, which left t/iaf letter 
in the rack : and even the thought that there should have been 
a second from Marseilles never occurred to them. All these, 
and other details, Hamish Channing would have to wait for. 
He could afford to do so — holding that letter of relief in his 
hand, which stated that Charles was eager to continue his 
homeward journey, so that they would probably be in London 
soon after its receipt. 

" Oh, Hamish, it is good news ! " cried Roland, who had sat 
listening with all his heart and eyes. " It's like a message from 
heaven. It is a ^ala-da;>r for us." 



A STARTLING AVOWAL. 359 

''I dare say there is a letter waiting for you at Mrs, J.'s, 
friend Roland." 

" Of course there is," decided Roland. " As if Arthur would 
forget me ! Old Galloway won't die yet, after all." 

But, even in that short absence of a day and a night, Roland 
seemed to see that Hamish Channing's face had grown 
thinner : the skin more transparent, the genial blue eyes 
brighter. 



CHAPTER IX. 

A STARTLING AVOWAL. 



Cuff Court, Fleet Street ; and a frosty day in December, The 
year has gone on some six or seven weeks since the last chapter, 
and people are beginning to talk of the rapidly-advancing 
Christmastide. 

Over the fire, in the little room in Cuff Court, where you once 
saw him by gaslight, sits Mr. Butterby. The room is bright 
enough with sunlight now ; the sunshine of a cold, clear day ; a 
great deal brighter than Mr. Butterby himself, who is as dull as 
ditch-water, and very sulky. 

" I've been played with ; that's what I've been," said But- 
terby, soliloquizing. " Bede Greatorex bothers me to be still 
and passive ; and when I keep still and passive, and stop 
down at Helstonleigh, taking no steps, saying nothing to living 
mortal, letting the thing die away, if it will die, he makes a 
mess of it up in town. Why couldn't he have kept his father 
and Parson Ollivera quiet? Never a lawyer going, but must 
be sharp enough for that. Not he. He does nothing of the 
sort, but lets one or both of 'em work, and ferret, and worry, 
and discover that Godfrey Pitman has turned up. I'hen they find 
out that / knew of it, and go to head-quarters and report me 
for negligence ! I get a curt telegram to come to town, and 
here's the deuce to pay." 

Mr. Butterby turned round, snatched up a few papers that 
lay on the table, glanced over the writing, and resumed his 
soliloquy. 

"Jelf has it in hand here and I haven't yet got xo see him. 



36o ROLAND YORKE. 

Not of much use seeing him before I've heard what Bede 
Greatorex has to say. One thing they've not yet been sharp 
enough to discover — jvhere Godfrey Pitman is to be found. Foster 
in Birmingham holds his tongue, Johnson shows Jelf the door 
when he goes to ask about Winter : and there they are, Jelf and 
the parson, or Jelf and Mr. Greatorex — whichever of the two 
is stirring in the matter — mooning up and down England after 
Pitman, little thinking he's close at home, right under their 
very noses. I and Bede Greatorex hold that secret; but I 
don't think I shall feel inclined to hold it long. ' Where is 
Pitman?' says the sergeant yesterday, at head- quarters. ' Ah !' 
says I, ' that's just the problem we are some of us trying to work 
out.' " 

Mr. Butterby paused, cracked the coal fiercely, which sent up 
a shower of sparks, and resumed. 

"And it is a problem; one /can't make come square just 
yet. There's Brown — as good call him by one alias as another 
—keeping as quiet as a mouse, knowing that he is being 
looked after for the murder of Counsellor Ollivera. What's his 
motive in keeping dark? The debts he left behind him in 
Birmingham are paid ; Johnson and Teague acknowledge his 
innocence in that past transaction of young Master Samuel's ; 
they are, so to say, his friends, and the man knows all this. 
Why, then, doesn't he come forward, reap the ben.efit of the 
acquittal, clear himself before the world, and say — Neither am 
I guilty of the counsellor's death ? Of course, when Jelf and 
Jelf 's masters know he is hiding somewhere, and does not come 
forward, they assume that he dare not, that he w-as the man \\ho 
did it. I wouldn't swear but he was, either. Looking at it in 
a broad point of view, one can't help seeing that he must have 
some strong motive for his silence — and what that motive 
is, one may give a shrewd guess at : that he is screening 
himself or somebody else. There's only one other in the 
world that he would screen, I expect, and that's Alletha Rye." 

A long pause. Mr. Butterby's face, for all his professional 
craft, had as puzzled a look on it as any ordinary mortal's could 
wear. 

" I suspected Alletha Rye more than anybody at the time. 
Don't suspect her now. Don't think it was her; wouldn't 
swear it wasn't, though. And, in spite of your injunction to 
be quiet, Mr. Bede Greatorex, I'll go into the thing a bit for 
Illy own satisfaction." 



A STARTLING AVOWAL. 36T 

Looking over the papers on the table again, he locked them 
up, and sat down to write a letter or two. Some one then 
came in to see him on business — business which does not con- 
cern us. And so time passed on, and when the sunlight had 
faded into night, Mr. Butterby put on a rough pilot-coat, and 
went out. The shops were lighted, displaying their attractions 
for the approaching Christmas, and Mr. Butterby had leisure 
to glance at them with critical approval as he passed on his 
way. 

These few weeks had not brought forth much to relate in 
regard to general matters. Arthur and Charles Channing had 
passed through London on their way to Helstonleigh ; Roland 
Yorke had resumed his daily and evening work, and had more- 
over given his confidence to Sir Vincent Yorke (nothing 
daunted by that gentleman's previous repulse) on the subject 
of Annabel Channing, and in his sanguine temperament was 
ever looking for the post V^incent was to procure him ; and 
James Channing drew nearer and nearer to another world. 
But this world was slow to perceive it in Hamish the bright ! 
Three or four times a week Roland snatched a minute to visit 
the second-hand furniture shops in Tottenham Court Road, 
there to lay in a stock of practical information as to the number 
and nature of articles, useful and ornamental, indispensable for 
a gentleman and lady about to go into housekeeping. 

But Mr. Butterby was on his way to I\Irs. Jones's residence, 
and we must follow him there. Halting opposite the house to 
survey it, he saw that there was no light in Mr. Ollivera's 
sitting-room ; no light anywhere, as far as he could see. By 
which fact he gathered that the clergyman was not at home. 
That was satisfactory, as he did not care to come into contact 
with him in the present uncertain state of affairs. 

Crossing the street, he knocked gently at the door. !Miss 
Rye answered it, no one but herself being in the house. A 
street-lamp shone full on her face, and the start she gave was 
quite visible to Mr. Butterby. He walked straight in to Mrs. 
Jones's parlour, saying he had come to see her; her, Alletha 
Rye. Her work lay on the red table-cover under the lamp ; 
Mr. Butterby sat down in the shadow and threw back his 
coat ; she stood by the fire and nervously stirred it, her face 
blanching. 

" When that unhappy event took place at Helstonleigh, the 
death of Counsellor Ollivera, now getting on for five years 



362 ROLAND YORKE. 

back, there was a good deal of doubt encompassing it, Miss 
Rye," he suddenly began. 

" Doubt ? " she rejoined, faintly, sitting down to the table 
and taking up her work. 

" Yes, doubt. I mean as to how the death was caused. 
Some said it was murder, and some said it was suicide." 

" Everybody said it was a suicide ! " she eagerly interrupted, 
her trembling fingers plying the needle as if she were working 
for very life. " The coroner and jury decided that it was so." 

" Not quite everybody," dissented Mr. Butterby, listening 
with composure until she had finished. " Vou didn't, for one. 
I was in the churchyard when they put him into the ground, 
and heard and saw you over the grave." 

" But I had cause to — to — alter my opinion," she said, her 
face now hectic with emotion. " Heaven alone knows how 
bitterly I have repented of that night's work ! If cutting out 
my tongue afterwards could have undone my mistake •" 

"Now look here; don't you get flurried," interposed Mr. 
Butterby. "I didn't come here to put you out, but just to 
have a rational talk on a point or two. I thought at the time 
it was suicide, as you may remember : but I'm free to confess 
that the way in which the ball has been kept rolling since has 
altered my opinion also. Counsellor Ollivera was murdered ! " 

She made no reply. Taking up her scissors, she began 
cutting away at the work at random. 

" There was a stranger lodging at Mrs, Jones's at the time, 
you remember, one Godfrey Pitman. Helstonleigh said, you 
know. Miss Rye, that if anybody did it, it was him. That 
Godfrey Pitman is an uncommonly sharp card to have kept 
himself out of the way so long ! Don't you think so ? " 

" I don't think anything about it," she answered. " What is 
it to me ? " 

"Well, Miss Rye, I've the pleasure of telling you that 
Godfrey Pitman's found ! " 

The little presence of mind left in AUetha Rye seemed to 
desert her at the words. Perhaps she was no longer so capable 
of maintaining it as she once had been : the very best of our 
powers wear out when the soul's burthen is continued long, 
long years. 

" Found ! " she gasped, her hands falling on her work, her 
wild eyes turned to Mr. Butterby. 

'' Leastways, so near found, that it mayn't be an age afore 



A STARTLING AVOWAL. 363 

he's took," added the detective, craftily. " Our friends in the 
blue coats have got the clue to him. I wouldn't lay you the 
worth of that silver thimble of yours, Miss Rye, that he's not 
standing in a certain dock next Alarch assizes." 

" In what dock ? What for ? " came from her trembling lips. 

" Helstonleigh dock. For what he did to Mr. OUivera. 
Come, come, I did not want to frighten you like this, my 
good young woman. And why should it ? It is not certain 
Pitman will be brought to trial, though he were guilty. 
Years have gone by since, and the Greatorexes and Parson 
Ollivera may hush it up. They are humane men; Mr. Bede 
especially." 

" You don't believe Godfrey Pitman was guilty ? " she 
exclaimed, and her eyes began to take a hard look, her voice 
a defiant tone. 

" Oh, don't I ! " returned Butterby. " What's more to the 
purpose. Miss P.ye, the London officers and their principals, 
w^ho have it in hand, believe it also." 

" And what if I tell you that Godfrey Pitman never was 
guilty ; that he never raised his hand against Mr. Ollivera ? " 
she broke forth in passionate accents, rising to confront him. 
" What if I tell you that it was /who did it? " 

Standing there before him, her eyes ablaze with light, her 
cheeks crimson, her voice ringing with power, it was almost 
impossible to discredit her. For once, the cool, experienced 
man was taken aback. 

" You, Miss Rye ! " 

" Yes, I. I, Alletha Rye. What, I say, if I tell you that it 
was I who did that terrible deed ? A'ot Godfrey Pitman. Now 
then ! you must make the most of it, and do your best and 
worst." 

The avowal, together with the various ideas that came 
crowding in upon him as its accompaniment, struck Mr. 
Butterby dumb. He sat gazing at her, speech utterly failing 
him. 

" Is this true ? " he whispered at length. 

" Should I avow such a thing if it were not true ? Oh, Mr. 
Butterby ! hush the matter up if it be in your power," she 
implored, clasping her hands in an attitude of supplication. 
" In pity to me, hush it ; it has lain at rest all these years. 
Let Godfrey Pitman alone ! For my sake, let him alone ! I 
pray you in Heaven's name ! " 



364 ROLAND YORKE. 

She sank down in her chair, " and burst into a flood of 
hysterical tears, Mr. Butterby waited in silence until they 
were over, and then buttoned his coat to depart. Putting out 
her timid hand, she caught his arm and held it with a nervous 
grasp. 

" You will promise me, Mr. Butterby ? " 
" I can't promise anything on the spur of the moment," said 
he in grave, but not unkindly tones. " You must let me turn 
things over in my mind. For one thing, neither hushing up 
the matter, nor pursuing it, may lie with me. I told you others 
had it in hand, Miss Rye, and I told you the truth. Now 
there's no need for you to come to the door ; I can let myself 
out." 

And Mr. Butterby let himself out accordingly, making no 
noise in the exit. 

" I'm blest if I can see daylight in all this," he exclaimed 
with energy, as he briskly went down the street. "^Did she 
really do it ? — or is she tryipg to screen Master George Winter? 
It's one of the two ; and I'm inclined to think it is the last. 
Anyway, she's a brave and a bold woman. Whether she did 
it, or whether she didn't, it's no light matter to accuse herself 

of mur " 

Mr. Butterby came to a full stop : both in words and steps. 
It was only for a second : and he laughed a little silent laugh 
at his own obtuseness as he passed on. 

" I forgot her avowal at the grave. If she had done it her- 
self, she would never have gone in for that public display, lest 
it should turn attention on her. Yes, yes ; she is screening 
Winter. Perhaps the man, hiding in that top floor, with 
nothing to do but torment his wits, got jealous of the coun- 
sellor below, fancying she favoured him, and so " 

The break in Mr. Butterby's soHloquy was this time occa- 
sioned by his shooting into an entry. Approaching him was 
Mrs. Jones, attended by her servant with a huge market-basket : 
and as he had neither time nor wish for an encounter with that 
lady at the present moment, he let her go by. 



( 36s ) 
CHAPTER X. 

A TELEGRAM TO HELSTOXLEIGH. 

That same evening, just as suddenly as Detective Butterby' 
had shot down the entry, did he seem to shoot into the private 
room of Mr. Bede Greatorex. The clerks had just left the 
office for the evening ; Bede, putting things straight on his 
desk, was thinking of going upstairs to dinner. To be thus 
quietly invaded was not agreeable : but Bede could only resign 
himself to his fate. 

In a spirit of reproach Mr. Butterby entered on the business 
of the interview, stating certain facts. Bede took alarm. 
Better, as he thought, that the earth should be arrested in its 
orbit, than that the part Godfrey Pitman had played in con- 
nection with his cousin's death at Helstonleigh should be 
brought to light. 

" It is the very charge, above all others, that I gave you, 
Mr. Butterby — to keep secret what you had learnt about the 
identity of Godfrey Pitman," broke forth Bede. 

" And it is because I obeyed you and did keep it, that head- 
quarters have put it into others' hands and are hauling me over 
the coals," spoke Mr. Butterby, in injured tones. 

" Have you told them that it was by my desire you remained 
passive ? " 

"I have told them nothing," was the answer. "I let 'em 
think that I was still looking high and low after Godfrey Pit- 
man." 

"Then they don't yet know that he and my clerk Brown are 
one and the same ? " said Bede, very eagerly. 

"Not a bit on't. There's not a living soul of them has been 
sharp enough to turn that page yet, Mr. Bede Greatorex." 

" And it must be our business to keep it unturned," whis- 
pered Bede. " I will give you any reward if you can manage 
to do it." 

" Look here, sir," spoke Butterby. " I am willing to oblige 
you as far as I can in reason ; I've showed you that I am ; 
but to fill you with hopes that that secret will be a secret long, 
would be nothing but wilful deceit : and deceit's a thing that 



366 ROLAND VORKE. 

don't answer in the long-run. When I want to throw people 
off a scent, or worm things out of 'em, I send their minds off 
on all sorts of journeys, and think it no wrong : but to let you 
suppose I can keep from the world what I can't keep, and take 
your thanks and rewards for doing it, is just an opposite case. 
As sure as we two be talking here, this matter won't stand at 
its present page; there'll be more leaves turned in it afore 
many days have gone over." 

Leaning forward, his face and eyes wearing their gravest 
look, his elbow on the table between them, his finger pointed 
to give force to his argument, there was that in the speaker's 
aspect, his words, that carried a shiver of conviction to the 
mind of Bede Greatorex. His heart grew faint, his face 
white. 

" You may think to stop it, and I may think to stop it, Mr. 
Bede Greatorex : but, take my word for it, it won't be stopped. 
There's no longer a chance of it." 

"If you — could get — Brown out of the way?" spoke Bede, 
scarcely knowing what he said, and speaking in a whisper. Mr. 
Butterby received the suggestion with severity. 

" It's not to me, sir, that you should venture to say such a 
thing. I've been willing to help your views when it didn't lie 
out of my duty to do it ; but I don't think you've seen any- 
thing in me to suppose I would go beyond that. As good step 
into Scotland Yard and ask them to help a criminal to escape, 
as ask me. We'll let that drop, sir ; and I'll go on to a ques- 
tion I should like to put. Why do you want Godfrey Pitman 
out of the way ? " 

Bede did not answer. His hand was pressed upon his brow, 
his eyes wore their saddest and most dreamy look. 

*' If Pitman had any hand in the Helstonleigh affair, you 
ought to be the one to give him into custody, sir." 

"For the love of Heaven, don't pursue Pitman!" spoke 
Bede, earnestly. " I have told you before, Mr. Butterby, that 
it was not he. So far as I beHeve, he never lifted his hand 
against John Ollivera; he did not hurt a hair of his head. 
Accuse any one in the world that you please, but don't accuse 
him." 

"What if I accuse a woman?" spoke Mr. Butterby, when 
he had gazed at Bede to his satisfaction. 

Their eyes met. Bede's face, or the detective fancied it, 
was growing whiter. 



A TELEGRAM TO HELSTONLEIGH. 367 

"Who? — What woriian?" asked Bede, scarcely above his 
breath. 

"Alletha Rye." 

With a sudden movement, as of relief, Bede Greatorex 
'dropped his hand and leaned back in his chair. It was as 
if some respite had come to him. 

" Why should you bring in Alletha Rye's name ? Do you 
suspect her ?" 

" I'm not sure that I do ; I'm not sure that I don't. Any- 
how, I think she stands a chance of being accused, Mr. Bede 
Greatorex." 

" Better accuse her than Pitman," said Bede, who seemed 
to be again speaking as if in a far-off dream. 

Mr. Butterby, wondering at various matters, and not yet able 
to make them meet in his official mind, rose to conclude the 
interview. A loud bell was ringing upstairs; most probably 
the announcement of dinner. 

"Just a parting word, sir. What I chiefly stepped in to say, 
was this. So long as the case rested in my hands, and Mr. 
Godfrey Pitman was supposed to have finally disappeared from 
the world, I was willing to oblige you, and let it, and him, and 
the world alone. But from the moment that the affair shall be 
stirred in publicly, and action is forced upon me by others, I 
must take it up again. Counsellor Ollivera's case belongs of 
right to me, and must be mine to the end." 

With a civil good night, Mr. Butterby departed, leaving Bede 
Greatorex to his thoughts and reveries. More unhappy ones 
have rarely been entertained in this world. Men cannot strive 
against fate for ever, and the battle had very nearly worn him 
out. It almost seemed that he could struggle no longer, that 
he had no power of resistance left within him. Mind and body 
were alike weary ; the spirit faint, the heart sick. Life had 
long been a burden to Bede Greatorex, but never did it 
lie heavier upon him than to-night in its refined and exquisite 
pain. 

He had to bear it alone, you see. To lock the miserable 
secret, whatever might be its precise nature, and whoever 
might have been guilty, within his own bosom. Could he only 
have spoken of it to another, its anguish had been less keen ; 
for, when once a great trouble can be imparted — be it grief, 
apprehension, or remorse ; connected with ourselves, or with 
one near and dear to us — it is lightened of half its sting. 



368 ROLAND YORKE. 

But that relief was denied to Bede Grfeatorex. 

It was the dinner-bell that had rung. Bede did not answef 
to it ; but that wac not altogether an unusual occurrence. 

They sat round the brilliantly-lighted, well-appointed banquet. 
Where Mrs. Bede Greatorex procured her fresh hot-house 
flowers from daily, and at what cost, she alone knew. They 
were always beautiful, charming to the eye, pleasant to the 
senses. At the head of the table to-night was she, dressed in 
amber silk, her shoulders very bare, her back partially con- 
cealed by the tail that drooped from her remarkable chignon. 
It was not a dinner-party ; but Mrs. Bede was going out later, 
and had dressed elaborately. 

Bede's place on her left was vacant, for he never took the 
foot of the table when his father was present. Mr. Greatorex 
supposed that his son was detained in the office, and sent 
a servant to inquire. Judge Kene sat on the right of Mrs. 
Bede ; he had called in, and stayed to dinner without ceremony. 
Clare Joliffe and Miss Channing sat on either side Mr. Greato- 
rex. Frank was dining out. Clare was returning to France 
for Christmas, after her many months' stay in the country. 
Annabel's quietly dressed hair presented a contrast to the other 
two present, 

Bede came up. Shaking hands with Sir Thomas Kene, he 
passed round to his chair; his manner restless, his thin cheeks 
hectic. The judge had not seen him for some little time. 
Gazing at him across the table, he wondered what malady he 
could be suffering from, and how much more shadowy he 
would be able to become — and live. Mr. Greatorex, awake to 
every glance or movement bearing on his son's health, spoke. 

"You are thinking Bede looks worse. Sir Thomas?" 

" He does not look any better," was the reply. "You should 
see a doctor and take tonics, Bede." 

" I'm all right, judge, thank you," was Bede's answer, as he 
turned a whole lot of croulotis into liis ptirk dc pois — to be 
afterwards sent away almost untasted. 

Dinner was just over when a servant whispered to Mr. 
Greatorex that he was wanted. Going down at once to his 
room, he there found Henry William GUivera. 

"Why did you not come up, William? Kene is with us." 

" I am in no humour for company, uncle," was the clergyman's 
reply. " The trouble has come at last." 

In all the phases of agitation displayed by Henry Ollivera, 



A TELEGRAM TO HELSTONLEIGH. 369 

and when speaking of the affair he generally displayed more or 
less of it, Mr. Greatorex had never seen him so much moved 
as now. Leaning forward in his chair, his eyes bright, his 
hands feverish, his voice subdued, he entered on the tale he 
had to tell. 

" Do you remember my saying to you one day in the dining- 
room above, that I thought it was a woman ? Do you remem- 
ber it, uncle ? " 

" Quite well." 

" In the weeks that have since gone by, that suspicion has 
only gained ground in my mind. Without cause : I am bound 
to say it, without further cause. Nay almost in the teeth of 
what might have served to allay suspicion. For, if Godfrey 
Pitman be really somewhere in existence, and in hiding, the 
natural supposition would be, as Jelf thinks, that he was the 
guilty one." 

Mr. Greatorex nodded. "And yet you suspect a woman ! 
Can you not say who she is, Henrj' ? " 

"Yes, I can say now. I have come here to say it. It is 
Alletha Rye ! " 

Mr. Greatorex showed no surprise. He had fancied it might 
be upon her that his nephew's doubts had been running. And 
he deemed it a crotchet indeed. 

" I think you must be utterly mistaken," he said with 
emphasis. "What little I know of the young woman tends 
to give me a very high opinion of her. She appears to be 
almost the last person in the world capable of such a crime as 
that — or of crime of any sort." 

" She might have done it in the impulse of the moment ; she 
might even have been playing with the pistol and fired it 
accidentally, and then was afraid to acknowledge it ; but she 
did it, uncle. " 

" Go on." 

" I have been distracted with doubt. Distracted," emphati- 
cally repeated Mr. Ollivera. " For, of course, I knew that my 
suspicions, strong though they have been growing, did not 
prove her guilty. But to-night I heard her avow it with her 
own lips." 

" Avow what ? " 

"That she murdered John !" 

"What! — Has she confessed to you?" exclaimed Mr. 
Greatorex. 

Roland Vorke. 2i 



^76 ROLAND YORKE. 

"No. I heard it accidentally. And, hearing it in that 
manner, the question arises in my mind whether or not I should 
make use of the knowledge. I cannot bear anything like dis- 
honourable or underhand dealing; no, not even in such a 
cause as this, uncle." 

Mr. Greatorex made no reply. He was occupied with noting 
the strangely eager gaze fixed upon him. Something in it, he 
knew not what, recalled to his memory a dead face, lying in a 
distant churchyard. . 

"It is some few weeks ago now that Mrs. Jones gave me a 
latch-key," resumed Mr. Ollivera. " In fact, I asked her for 
it. Coming in so often, and sometimes detained late at night 
with the sick, I felt that it would be a convenience to me, and 
save them trouble. This evening, letting myself in about tea- 
time, I found the passage in darkness ; the girl, I supposed, 
had neglected to light the lamp. My movements are not noisy 
at any time, as you know, and I went groping on, feeling my 
way : not from any wish to be unheard — such a thought never 
entered my head — but because Mr. Roland Yorke is given to 
leaving all kinds of articles about, and I was afraid of stumb- 
ling over something. I was making for the table at the end 
of the passage, on which matches are generally kept, and 
sometimes a chamber-candle. Then, I heard a voice in Mrs. 
Jones's parlour that I have not heard many times in my life ; 
nevertheless I knew it instantly. It was Butterby's, the 
detective." 

" Butterby's !" exclaimed Mr. Greatorex. " I did not know 
he was in London." 

"Uncle! It was AUetha Rye's voice that answered him. 
Her voice and no other, charged with agitation though it was. 
I heard her say that it was herself who had killed my brother; 
and that Godfrey Pitman had never raised a hand against him." 

" You really heard her say this, William ? " breathed Mr. 
Greatorex. 

" It is as true as that I am a living man. It seemed to me that 
the detective must have been accusing Godfrey Pitman of the 
crime. I heard the man's astonished answer, ' You, Miss Rye ! ' 
*Yes, I,' she said, 'I, Alletha Rye, ;/<?/ Godfrey Pitman.' I 
heard her go on to tell Butterby that he might do his best and 
his worst." 

Mr. Greatorex sat as if turned to stone. " This confounds 
me, William," he presently said. 



A TELEGRAM TO HELSTONLEIGH. 371 

" It confounded me," replied Mr. OUivera. " Almost took 
my senses from me, for I'm sure I had no reason left. The 
first thought that came to me was, that they had better not 
see me, or discover they had been overheard until I had 
decided what my course should be. So I went quietly up 
to my room, and the detective went away. A few minutes 
after that, Mrs. Jones and the maid came in together. Mrs. 
Jones called her sister to account for not having lighted the 
hall-lamp, little thinking how the omission had served me." 

" But that you tell me this yourself, William, I had not 
believed it." 

" It is true," spoke the clergyman, painfully earnest. " I sat 
a short time in my room, unable to decide what I ought to do, 
and then I came down here to tell you of it, uncle. It is very 
awful." 

" Awful that it should have been AUetha Rye, you 
mean ? " 

" Yes. I have been praying, seeking, working for this clear- 
ance ever since John died ; and, now that it has come in this 
most sudden manner, it brings nothing but perplexity with it. 
Oh, poor helpless mortals that we are ! " added the clergyman, 
clasping his hands. "We set our hearts upon some longed-for 
end, spend our days toiling for it, our nights supplicating for 
it ; and when God answers us according to our short-sighted 
wish, the result is as the apples of Sodom, filling our mouths 
with ashes. Any one but Alletha Rye ; almost any one ; and 
I had not hesitated a moment. But I have lived under the 
same roof with her, in friendly intercourse ; I have preached 
to her on Sundays ; I have given her Christ's Holy Sacrament 
with my own hands : in a serious illness that she had, I used 
to go and pray by her bedside. Oh, Uncle Greatorex, I 
cannot see where my duty lies; I am torn with conflicting 
emotions ! " 

To the last words Mr. Ollivera had had a listener he had not 
bargained for — Judge Kene. About to take his departure, the 
judge had come in without ceremony to wish Mr. Greatorex 
good night." 

"Why, what's the matter?" he cried, noting the signs of 
agitation as well as the impassioned words. 

And they told him ; told him all ; there was no reason why 
it should be kept from him ; and Mr. Ollivera begged for his 
counsel and advice. The judge gave it, and most emphati- 



372 ROLAND YORKE. 

cally; deciding ^5 a judge more than as the humane and lenient 
man he really was. 

" You cannot hesitate, OUivera, This poor unhappy woman, 
AUetha Rye, must be brought to answer for her crime. Think 
of your brother, and my once dear friend, lying unavenged in 
his shameful grave ! Humanity is a great virtue, but John's 
memory must outweigh all other considerations." 

"Yes, yes/ I am ever thinking of him," murmured the 
clergyman, his face hghting up. 

The initiative was taken by Mr. Greatorex. On the departure 
of the judge and the clergyman, who went out together, Mr. 
Greatorex dropped a line to Scotland Yard. Butterby happened 
to be there, and answered it in person. Shortly and concisely 
Mr. Greatorex gave his orders. 

"And I have no resource but to act upon them," coolly 
observed the imperturbable Butterby. "But for all that I don't 
think the party was AUetha Rye." 

"You don't!" exclaimed Mr Greatorex. 

" No, sir, I don't. Leastways, to my mind, there are grave 
reasons against it. The whole affair, from beginning to end, 
seems encompassed with nothing but doubt ; and that's the 
truth." 

" I should like to ask you if Alletha Rye has or has not made 
a confession to you this evening, Mr- Butterby — to the effect 
that it was she who killed Mr. Ollivera ? " 

" If nobody was in the house but herself — as she said — she's 
been talking," thought the detective. " Confound these women ! 
They'd prate their necks away." 

But Mr. Greatorex was waiting for the answer. 

" I was with Alletha Rye this evening ; I went tnere for my 
own purposes, to see what I could get out of her ; httle sus- 
pecting she'd say what she did. But I don't believe her any 
the more for having said it. The fact is, Mr. Greatorex, that 
in this case there's wheels within wheels, almost more than any 
I ever had to do with. I can't yet disclose them, even to 
you ; but I'm trying to work them round and make one spoke 
fit into another." 

" Do you kno2v that Alletha Rye was not guilty of 
it?" 

" No, sir, I do not." 

" Very good. Lose no tune. Procure a warrant to appre- 
hend Alletha Rye, and execute it. If you telegraph to Hel- 



LIFE'S SANDS RUNNING ON. 373 

stonleigh at once, the warrant may be up, and she in custody 
before midday to-morrow." 

No more dallying with the law or with fate now. That was 
over. Mr, Butterby went straight to the telegraph office, and 
sent a flying message to Helstonleigh. 

And Bede Greatorex went out to take part in the evening's 
gaiety with his wife, and came home to his rest, and rose the 
next morning to his occupation, unconscious of what the day 
was destined to bring forth 



CHAPTER XL 

life's sands running on. 



A COLD brisk air, with a suspicion of frost. It was a day or 
two previous to the one recorded in the last two chapters, 
when Mr. Butterby was paying sundry visits. Being somewhat 
necessary to narrate that renowned officer's doings first, we 
yielded him the precedence, and in consequence have now to 
go back a little. 

The brightness of the afternoon was passing. In his writing- 
room, leaning back in a large easy-chair before the fire, sat 
Hamish Channing. Some papers lay on the table, work of 
various kinds ; but, to look at Hamish, it almost seemed that 
he had done with work for ever. A face less beautiful than 
Hamish Channing's would have appeared painfully thin : his, 
spite of its wasted outlines, bore yet a wonderful charm. The 
remark was once made that Hamish Channing's was a face 
that would be always beautiful ; beautiful to the end ; beautiful 
in dying. Observe it now. The perfect form of the features 
is shown the plainer in their attenuation ; the skin seems trans- 
parent, the cheeks are delicately flushed, the eyes are very- 
blue and bright. Earlier in this history, it was said that the 
countenance looked etherealized, and if any cavilled at the 
word, they would scarcely have done so now. But in the 
strangely spiritual expression, speaking, one knew not how, of 
heaven, there was an ever-present sadness, as if trouble had 
been hard at work within him ; as if all that was of the earth, 
earthy, had been crucified away. 



374 ROLAND YORKE. 

No one seemed certain of it yet — that he was dying. He 
bore up bravely ; working still a little at . home ; but not going 
to the office ; that was now beyond him. The doctors had not 
said there was no hope : his wife, though she might feel how it 
was, would not speak it. He still sat at the head of his table, 
was careful of his appearance as of yore. His smile was still 
genial ; his loving words were cheerful, sometimes gay ; his 
sweetness to all around was more marked. Oh, it was not in 
the face only that the look of heaven appeared. If ever a 
spark of the Divine spirit of love and light had been vouch- 
safed to man's soul, it surely had been to that of Hamish 
Channing. 

He wore a coat and waistcoat of black velvet, his gold 
chain, with its drooping seal, passed across the latter. The 
ring, formerly Mr. Channing's, no longer made believe to fit 
the little finger, and was worn on the second. His hair, care- 
fully brushed as ever, shone like gold in the sunlight. Cer- 
tainly it could not be said that Hamish gave in to his illness. 
AVhatever his complaint might be, the medical men gave it no 
name ; there was a little cough, a strange want of tone and 
.strength, a quick, continual, almost perceptible wasting. 
Whether Hamish had cherished visions of recovery for himself 
could not be known ; most earnestly he had hoped for it. If 
only for the sake of his wife and child, he desired to live : 
and existence itself, even in the midst of great and crushing 
disappointment, is hard to resign. But the truth, long dawning 
on his mind, had declared itself to him fully at last, as it does 
to most of us in similar cases. Whether Hamish's weakness 
had taken a giant stride and brought with it a conviction of its 
formidable nature, or whether he was feeling worse than usual, 
a sadness, as of death itself, lay upon him this afternoon. 

It had been a short life, as men count lives ; he had not 
yet numbered two-and -thirty years. But for the awful dis- 
appointment that was drying up its fibres, he might say that 
it had been a supremely happy one. Perhaps no man, with 
the sweet and sunny temperament of Hamish Channing, pos. 
sessing the same Christian principles, could be otherwise than 
happy. He did not remember ever to have done ill wilfully 
to mortal man, in thought, word, or deed. It had been done 
to him : but he forgave it. Nevertheless, a sense of injustice, 
a bitter pang of disappointment, of hopeless failure as to this 
world, lay on his heart, when he recalled what the past few 



LIFE'S SANDS RUNNLXG ON. 375 

months had brought him. Leaning there on his chair, his sad 
eyes tracing faces in the fire, he was recalHng things one by 
one. His never-ceasing, ever-hopeful work, and the bright 
dreams of future fame that had made its sunshine. He re- 
membered, as though itiere but yesterday, the evening that 
first review met his eye — when he had been entertaining the 
Reverend WiUiam Yorke, and others — and the shock it gave 
him. Think of it when he would, even now it brought him 
a sensation of faintness. Older men have become paralyzed 
from a like cause. The first review had been so closely followed 
by others, equally unjust, equally cruel, that they all seemed 
as one blow. After that there appeared to be a pause in his 
life, when time and eventl stood still, when he moved as one 
in a dream, when all things around him were as dead, and he 
with them. The brain never stopped beating, or the bosom's 
pain to work ; the sense of humiliation never left him. And 
then, as the days went on, bodily weakness supervened ; and — 
there he was ; dying. Dying ! going surely to his God and 
Saviour ; he felt that ; but leaving his dear ones, wife and 
child, to the frowns of a hard, cold world ; alone, with no 
suitable provision for them. And the book upon which he 
had bestowed the best of his bright genius, that he had written 
as in the sight of Heaven — was lying wasted and unread ! 

" Papa, shall I put on her blue frock or her green ? She is 
going out for a walk." 

This interruption came from Miss Nelly, who sat on the 
hearth-rug, dressing her doll. There was no reply, and Nelly 
looked up : she wore blue herself; and the sleeves of her white 
pinafore were tied up with blue ribbon. Her pretty little feet 
in their shoes and socks were stretched out, and her curls fell 
in a shower of gold. 

" Shall baby wear her blue frock or her green, papa ? Papa ! 
Which is prettiest ? " 

Hamish, aroused, looked down on the child with a smile. 
" The blue, I think ; and then baby-doll will be like Nelly." 

But Mrs. Channing, sewing at the window, turned her head. 
Something in her husband's face or in his weary tones struck 
her. 

" Do you feel worse, Hamish ? " 

" No, love. Not particularly." 

Sadder yet, the voice ; a hopeless, weary sadness, depressing 
to hear. Ellen quitted her seat, and came to him. 



376 ROLAND YORKE. 

" What is it? " she whispered. 

" Not much, dear. The future has cleared itself, that's all." 

" The future ? " 

" I cannot struggle any longer, Ellen. I have preached 
faith and patience to others, but they seem to have deserted 
me. I — I almost think the very strife itself is helping on the 
end." 

Sharp though the pang that pierced her breast, she would 
not show it. Miss Nelly chattered below, asking questions of 
her doll, and making believe to answer, 

" The e7id, Hamish ! " 

He took her hand and looked straight in her face as she 
stood by him. " Have you not seen it, Ellen ? " 

With a heart and bosom beating with failing breath, Mrs. 
Channing was conscious of a sharp pain. Oh yes— yes — she 
had seen it ; and trying to persuade herself that she had not 
done so had been nothing but a sickly, miserable pretence. 

"But for leaving you and the little one, Ellen, there would 
be no strife," he whispered, lettmg his forehead rest for a 
moment on her arm. " It is long since my dreams — I had 
almost said my visions — have been of that world to which we 
are all journeying, which every one of us must enter sooner or 
later. There will be no pain, or trouble, or weariness there. 
Only the other night, as I lay between sleeping and waking, 
I seemed to have passed its portals into a soft and soothing 
light, a haven of peace and rest." 

"And if dolly's good, and does not spoil her new frock, she 
shall go out for a walk," was heard from the hearth-rug. Hamisli 
yjut his elbow on the arm of the chair, and covered his face 
with his slender fingers 

" But when I think of my wife and child — and I am always 
thinking of them, Ellen — when I realize the bitter truth that 
I must leave them, why then at times it seems as if my heart 
must break with the intensity of its pain. Ellen, my darling, 
I would not, even yet, have spoken, but that I know you must 
have been waiting for it." 

" I could have borne any trouble better than this," she 
answered, pressing her hands together. 

" It will be softened to you, I am sure, Ellen. I am ever 
praying that it may be." 

Visitors in the drawing-room : Mrs. Bede Greatorex and 
Miss Joliffe. A servant came in to announce them. She had 



LIFE'S SANDS RUNNING ON. 377 

said that her mistress was at home, and Ellen had to go up. 
Hamish, with his remaining strength, lifted Miss Nelly on his 
knee, doll and all. 

" Hush, papa, please ! Baby is tired with making her 
toilette. She wants to go to sleep." 

" What would Nelly say if papa told her he also wanted to 
go to sleep ? " 

Miss Nelly lay back in papa's arms while she considered the 
question, the doll hushed in hers. Ah me, it is ever thus ! 
We clasp and love our children : they love others, who are 
more to them than we are. 

" Why ? Are you tired, papa ? " 

" A little weary, dear." 

"Then go to sleep. Dolly shall be quiet." 

" The sleep's not coming just yet, Nelly. And — when it 
does come— papa may not awake from it." 

"Not ever, ever, ever?" asked Nelly, opening her blue 
eyes in wonder, but not taking in the true sense of the 
question. 

"Not ever — here." 

" The princess went to sleep in my tale-book, and lay on 
the bed with roses in her hair, and never awoke, never, never, 
till the good old fairy came and touched her," said Miss Nelly. 

There ensued a pause. Hamish Channing's lips quivered a 
little ; but no one, save himself, could have guessed how every 
fibre of his heart was aching. 

" Nelly," he resumed, his voice and manner grave and 
earnest, his eyes reading hers : " I want to give you a charge. 
Should papa have to go on a long journey, you would be all 
that mamma has left. Take care, my child, to be ever dutiful 
to her; to be obedient to her slightest wish, and to love her 
with a double love." 

" A long, long, long journey ? " demanded Miss Nelly. 

"Very long." 

" And when would you come back again to this house ? " 

"Not ever." 

" Where would it be to, papa ? " 

" Heaven," he softly whispered. 

Nelly rose up in his arms, the blue eyes more wondering tlian 
before. 

" But that would be to die ! " 

" And if it were ? " 



378 ROLAND YORKE. 

Down fell the doll. The child's fears were aroused. She 
threw her little arms about his neck. 

'' Oh papa, papa, don't die ! Don't die ! " 

" But if I must die, Ellen ? " 

Only once in her whole life could she remember that he had 
called her by her true name, and that was when her grandpapa 
died. She began to tremble. 

" Who would take care of me, papa ? " 

" God." 

She hid her face upon his waistcoat, strangely quiet. 

" He would guide, and guard, and love you ever, Ellen. 
Loving Him, you would be His dear child always, and He 
would bring you in time to me. Look up, my dear one." 

" Alust you go the journey ? " 

" I fear so." 

" Oh, papa ! — and don't you care— don't you care for mamma 
and me, that you must leave us ? " 

" Care ! " 

He could say no more ; the word seemed to put the finishing 
stroke to his breaking heart. Sobs broke from his lips ; tears, 
such as man rarely sheds, streamed on the little nestling 
head. A cry of anguish, patient and imploring, that the 
parting might be soothed to them all, went up to his Father in 
heaven. 

After dusk came on, when the visitors were got rid of, — for 
Clare Joliffe had stayed an unconscionable time, talking over old 
interests at Helstonleigh — Mrs. Channing found her husband 
asleep in his chair. Closing the door softly on him, she sat 
down by the dining-room fire, and the long-pent-up tears burst 
forth. Hamish Channing's wife was a brave woman : but there 
are griefs that, when they fall, well-nigh shatter the bravest of 
us. Miss Nelly, captured ever so long ago by nurse, was at tea 
in the nursery. 

Roland Yorke surprised Mrs. Channing in her sorrow. 
Roland never came into the house with a clatter now (at 
least, when he thought of its master's sick state), but with as 
decorous a step as his boots would permit. Down he sat in 
silence, on the opposite side of the hearth, and caught sight of 
Mrs. Channing's tears in the firelight. 

" Is he worse ?" asked Roland, when he had stared a little. 

" No," she answered, scarcely making a pretence of conceal- 
ing her grief. " I fear there will not be very much * worse ' in 



LIFE'S SANDS RUNNING ON. 379 

it at all, Roland : a little more weakness perhaps, and that will 
be all. I am afraid the end is very near. I fancy he thinks so 
too." 

Roland grew hot and cold. 

" Let's understand, Mrs. Channing. Don't play with a fellow. 
Do you mean that Hamish is — going — to die ? " 

"Yes. I am sure there is no more hope." 

" My goodness ! " — and Roland rubbed his hot and stricken 
face. "Why, he was better yesterday. He was laughing and 
talking like anything." 

" Not really better. It is as I say, Roland." 

" If ever I saw such a miserable world ! " exclaimed Roland, 
who, though privately indulging at times some despondency 
upon the case, had perhaps not realized its utter hopelessness 
until now, when put unmistakably before him. "I never 
thought but he'd get well again. I should like to know why he 
couldn't, and what has killed him." 

" The reviews have done it," said Ellen, in low tones, 

Roland groaned. A suspicion, that they must have had 
something to do with the decline, had been upon himself. 
Hamish had never been quite the same after their appearance ; 
his spirit had seemed to fade away in sadness, and health 
followed it. 

" Those cruel reviews broke his heart," resumed Mrs. Chan- 
ning. "I am certain of it, Roland. A less sensitive man 
would not have felt it so vitally ; a man, physically stronger, 
would not have suffered in health. But he is sensitive amidst 
the most sensitive ; and he never, for all his bright face and 
fine form, was really strong. And so — he could not bear the 
blow, and it has killed him." 

Roland sat on in misery. Mrs. Channing shaded her eyes 
with her hand. 

" If I could only pitch into the reviewers ! " he cried. " Were 
I rich, I'd offer a thousand pounds reward to any one who 
would bring me their names. Hang the lot ! And if you were 
not by, Mrs. Channing, I'd give them a worse word." 

She shook her head. " Pitching into the reviewers, Roland, 
would not give him back his life. The publisher thinks that 
one man wrote them all : or got them written. Some one 
who must have had a grudge against Hamish. It does seem 
like it." 

Roland's picture might have been taken as an emblem of 



38o ROLAND YORKE. 

Despair. Suddenly the face brightened a little, the sanguine 
nature resumed its sway. 

" Don't lose heart, Mrs. Channing. I'll tell you something 
that happened to me at Port Natal. Uncommon hard-up I 
was, and lying in a place with fever upon me. I thought I was 
dying. I was dreaming of Helstonleigh and all the old people 
there. I seemed to see Arthur and Hamish, and Hamish 
smiled at me in his bright way, and said, * Cheer up, it will be 
all right, old friend.' Upon that, somebody was standing by 
the bed — which was nothing but a sack of sand that you roll 
off unpleasantly — trying my pulse and looking down at me. I 
mean really, you know. A chap in the room said it was a 
doctor ; perhaps it was ; but he got me nothing but some herb- 
tea to drink. 'Take courage,' says he to mCj 'it's half the 
battle ! ' I got well in time, and so may Hamish. You take 
courage, Mrs. Channing." 

She smiled a little. " My taking courage would not help my 
husband, Roland." 

" Well — no ; perhaps it mightn't," acknowledged Roland, 
falling back into gloom. " Where is he ? " 

She pointed to the other room. "Asleep before the 
fire." 

Roland softly opened the door and looked in. The firelight 
played on Hamish Channing's wasted features ; and his dreams 
seemed to be of a pleasant nature, for a smile sat on the 
delicate lips : lips that had always shown so plainly the man's 
remarkable refinement. Nevertheless, sleeping and dreaming 
peacefully though he was, there was something in the face that 
spoke of coming death. And Roland could have sobbed as he 
stood there. 

Going back again, and closing the door quietly, Roland found 
the company augmented in the person of his brother Gerald. 
For some time past Gerald Yorke had heard from one and 
another of Hamish Channing's illness, but it made no impres- 
sion upon him, except a slightly favourable one ; for, if Hamish 
were incapacitated from writing, it would be a rival removed 
from Gerald's path. This afternoon he was told that Hamish 
was thought to be past recovery; in fact, dying. That did 
arouse him a little ; the faint spark of conscience Gerald Yorke 
possessed was touched, and he thought as he was near the 
house he would call in. 

"You are quite a stranger," Mrs. Channing was saying, 



LIFE'S SANDS RUNNING ON. 331 

meeting Gerald with a cordial hand. " What has kept you 
away ? " 

" Aw — been busy of late ; and — aw — worried," answered 
Gerald, according a distant nod to Roland. "What's this I 
hear about Hamish ? — That he is dying ! " 

" Well, I don't think you need blurt out that strong word to 
Mrs. Channing, Gerald," interposed hot Roland. " Dying, 
indeed ! Do you call it manners ? I don't." 

" I beg Mrs. Channing's pardon," Gerald was beginning, half 
cynically ; but Ellen's voice rose to interrupt. 

"It makes no difference, Roland," she kindly said. "It is 
the truth, you know ; and I am not blind to it." 

"What's the matter with him?" asked Gerald. 

The matter with him ? Ellen Channing told the brief story 
in a few words. The cruel reviews had broken his heart. Gerald 
listened, and turned into a white heat. 

" The reviews ! " he exclaimed. " I don't understand you, 
Mrs. Channing." 

" Of course you read them, Gerald, and must know their 
bitter, shameful injustice," she explained. " They were such as 
might have struck a blow even to a strong man ; they struck a 
fatal blow to Hamish. He had staked his whole heart and 
hope upon the book ; he devoted to it the great and good 
abilities with which God had gifted him ; he made it worthy of 
all praise ; and false men rose up and blasted it. A strong word 
you may deem that, Gerald, but it is a true one. They rose up, 
and — in envy, as I believe — set themselves to write and work 
out a deliberate lie. They sent it forth to the world effectually, 
and killed the book. Perhaps they did not intend also to kill 
the writer." 

Gerald's white face looked whiter than usual. His eyes, in 
their hard stare, were very ugly to look upon, 

" Still I can't understand," he said. " The critiques were, of 
course, rather severe : but how can critiques kill a man ? " 

"And if you, being a reviewer yourself, Gerald, could only 
get to find out who the false-hearted hound was — for it's 
thought to have been one fellow who penned the lot — you'd 
oblige me," put in Roland. " I'd repay him, as I've seen it 
done at Port Natal. His howling would be something fine." 

"You do not yet entirely understand, I see, Gerald," sadly 
answered Ellen, passing over Roland's interruption, whilst 
Gerald turned his shoulder upon him. " In one sense the 



383 ROLAND YORKE. 

reviews did not kill. They did not, for instance, strike Hamish 
dead at once, or break his heart with a stroke. In fact, you 
may think the expression, a broken heart, but a figure of 
speech, and in a degree of course it is so. But there are 
some natures, and his is one of them, so sensitively organized 
that a cruel blow shatters them. Had Hamish been stronger 
he might have borne it, have got over it in time ; but he had 
been working beyond his strength ; and I think also his 
strangely eager hope in regard to the book must have helped 
to wear out his frame. It was his first work, you know. AVhen 
the blow came he had not strength to rally from it ; mind and 
body were alike stricken ; and so the weakness set in and did 
its work upon him." 

" What are these natures good for ? " fiercely demanded 
Gerald, as if resenting some personal injury. 

" Only for heaven, as it seems to me," she gently answered. 

Gerald rubbed his face ; he could not get any colour into it, 
and a pause ensued. Presently Ellen spoke again. 

" I remember, when quite a girl, reading of a somewhat 
similar case in one of Bulwer Lytton's novels. A young artist 
painted a great picture — great to him — and insisted on being 
concealed in the room whilst a master came to judge of it. 
The judgment was adverse ; not, perhaps, particularly harsh 
and cruel in itself, but sounding so to the painter ; and it 
killed him. Not at the moment, Gerald ; I don't mean that ; 
he lived to become ill, and he went to Italy for his health, his 
heart gradually breaking. He never spoke of what the blow 
had been to him, or that it had crushed out his hope and life, 
but died concealing it. Hamish has never spoken." 

" What I want to know is, Avhere's the use of people being 
like this ? " pursued Gerald. " What are they made for ? " 

" Scarcely for earth," she answered. " The too-refined gold 
is not meant for the world's coinage." 

" I'd rather be a bit of brittle china, than be made so that 
I couldn't stand a review," said Gerald. " It's to be hoped 
there are not many such people." 

" Only one in tens of thousands, Gerald." 

" Does it — trouble him ? " asked Gerald, hesitatingly. 

"The advance of death? — yes, in a degree. Not foi the 
dying, Gerald : but the quitting me and Nelly." 

" I'm not yet what Hamish and Arthur are, safe to be heard 
up there when they ask for a thing," again interrupted Roland : 



LIFE'S SANDS RUNNING ON. 383 

" but I do pra-y that from the day that bad base man hears of 
Hamish Channing's death, he'll be haunted by his ghost for 
ever. My goodness ! I shouldn't like to have murder on viy 
conscience. It's as bad as the fellow who killed IMr. Ollivera." 

Gerald Yorke rose. Ellen asked him to wait and see 
Hamish, but he answered, in what seemed a desperate hurry, 
that he had an engagement. 

" You might like to take a peep at him, Gerald," spoke 
Roland. " His face looks as peaceful as if it were sainted." 

Gerald's answer was to turn tail and depart. Roland, who 
had some copying on hand that was being waited for, stayed 
to shake hands with Mrs. Channing. 

'' Look here," he whispered to her. " Don't let him worry 
his mind about you and Nelly : in the way of money, you 
know. I shall be sure to get into something good soon ; 
Vincent will see to that ; and I'll take care of both of you. 
Good-bye.'^ 

Poor, penniless, good-hearted Roland ! 

With a run he caught up Gerald, who was striding rapidly 
along. Oblivious of all save the present distress, even of 
Gerald's past coldness, Roland attempted to take his arm, and 
was repulsed for his pains. 

" My way does not lie the same as yours, I think," was 
Gerald's haughty remark. Roland would not resent it. 

" I say, Ger, is it not enough to make one sad? It wouldn't 
have mattered much had it been you or me to be taken ; but 
Hamish Channing ! we can't afford to lose such a man as he." 

" Thank you," said Gerald. "Speak for yourself." 

" And with Hamish the bread-and-cheese goes. She has 
very little money. Perhaps she'll not feel the want of it, 
though. I'd work my arms off for that darling little Nelly — 
and for her too, for Hamish's sake." 

" I don't believe he is dying at all," said Gerald. " Reviews 
kill him, indeed ! It's altogether preposterous. Women talk 
wretched nonsense in this world." 

Without so much as a parting " Good night," Gerald struck 
across the street and disappeared. By the time he arrived at 
his chambers, his mind had fully persuaded itself that there was 
nothing seriously the matter with Hamish Channing, and he 
felt that he should like to shake Winny (who had been Ids 
informant) for alarming him. 

His servant brought him a letter as he entered, and Gerald 



384 ROLAND YORKE. 

tore it open. It proved to be from Sir Vincent Yorke, inviting 
Gerald down to Sunny Mead on the morrow for a couple of 
days' shooting. 

" Hurrah ! " shouted Gerald. " Vin's coming round, is he ! 
I'll go, and get out of him a hundred or so, to bring back with 
me to town. That's good. Hurrah ! " 



CHAPTER XH. 

GERALD YORKE AT A SHOOTING PARTY. 

It was a pretty place; its name. Sunny Mead, appropriate. 
For the sun (not far yet above the horizon) of the clear, 
cold December day, shone brightly on it. The house was 
small, but compact ; the prospect from the windows, with its 
expanse of wooded hill and dale, charming. At its best it 
was simple and unpretending, but as pleasant a homestead for 
moderate desires as could be found in the county of Surrey. 

In a snug room, its fire blazing in the grate, its snowy break- 
fast cloth, laden with china and silver, drawn up near the large 
window that looked out upon the lawn, sat the owner, Sir 
Vincent Yorke, and his cousin Gerald. As soon as breakfast 
should be over they were going out shooting ; but the baronet 
was by no means one who cared to disturb his morning's 
comfort by starting at dawn : shooting, as well as everything 
else in life, he liked to take easily. Gerald had arrived the 
previous night. It was the first time Gerald had seen Sunny 
Mead : and its want of pretence surprised him. Sir Vincent's 
marriage was fixed for the following month, January ; and he 
gratified Gerald by saying that he thought of asking him to be 
groomsman. 

"Aw ! — very happy — immensely so," responded Gerald, with 
his most fashionable drawl, that so grated on a true and honest 
ear. 

" Sunny Mead has this advantage ; one can come to it and 
be quiet," observed Sir Vincent. "There's not room for more 
than half-a-dozen servants in it. My father used to call it 
the homestead. That's just what it is, and it doesn't pretend 



GERALD YORKE AT A SHOOTING PARTY. 3o5 

to be anything else. More coffee? Try that partridge pie, 
Have you seen Roland lately?" 

The cynical expression that rose to Gerald's face at the 
question, made Sir Vincent smile. 

" Aw — I say, don't spoil my breakfast by bringing him up," 
spoke Gerald. "The best thing he can do is to go out to Port 
Natal again. Capital pie ! " 

" That devilled turkey's good, too. Try it presently," spoke 
the baronet. " How is Hamish Channing ? " 

Gerald's face turned dark. Was Sir Vincent purposely 
annoying him ? Taking up his coffee-cup for a long draught, 
he did not answer. 

" I never saw so fine a fellow in my life," resumed Sir Vincent. 
" Never was so taken with a face at first sight as with his. 
William Yorke was staying there at the time of my father's 
funeral, and I went next day to call. That's how I saw 
Channing. He promised to come and see me ; but some one 
told me the other day he was ill." 

"Aw — yes," drawled Gerald. "Seedy, I believe." 

" What's the matter with him ? " 

" Temper," said Gerald. " Wrote a book, and had some 
reviews upon it, and it put him out, I hear." 

" But it was a first-rate book, Gerald. I read it, and the 
reviews were all wrong : suppose some contemptible raven 
scrawled them in envy. The book's working its way upwards 
as fast as it can now." 

" Who says so ? " cried Gerald. 

'• I do. Had the information from a reliable source. By 
the way, is there anything in that story of Roland's — that he is 
engaged to Channing's sister? Or is it fancy on his part?" 

" I do wish you'd let the fellow's name alone ; he's not so 
very good to talk about," retorted Gerald. 

But Roland was not so easily dropped out of the conversa- 
tion. As luck would have it, Avhen the servant brought Sir 
Vincent's letters in, there was one from Roland amongst them. 
Vincent laughed outright as he read it. 

"Dear Vincent, 

" I happened to overhear old Greatorex say 
yesterday that Sir Vincent Yorke wanted a working bailiff 
for Sunny Mead. I ! wish ! to ! offer ! myself ! for ! the ! 
situation ! There ! I put it strong that you may not mistake 

Roland Yorke. 25 



386 ROLAND YORKE. 

me. Of course, I am a relative, which I can't help ; and a 
working bailiff is only a kind of upper servant. But I should 
be very glad of the place if you'll give it me, and will do my 
duty in it as far as I can, putting my best shoulder to the wheel. 
And I'll never presume upon our being cousins to enter your 
house uninvited, or put myself in your way; and my wife would 
not call on Lady Yorke if she did not wish it. I'll be bailiff — 
you master. 

" I don't tell you I'm a first-rate hand at farming ; but, if 
perseverance and sticking to work can teach one, I shall soon 
get into it. I picked up some experience at Port Natal ; and 
had to drive waggons and other animals. I'm great in pigs. 
Of course I know all about haymaking ; and used to be one of 
the company at old Pierce's harvest-homes, on his farm near 
Helstonleigh. I don't suppose you'd want me to thresh the 
wheat myself; but I'm strong enough to do it, and would not 
mind. I should be always up before dawn in spring to see to 
the young lambs ; and should soon acquire the ins and outs of 
manuring and draining. Do try me, Vincent ! There'd be one 
advantage in taking me — I should be honest and true to your 
interests. Whereas some bailiffs like to serve themselves better 
than their masters. 

"As to wages, I'd leave that to you. You wouldn't give less 
than a hundred a year to begin with ; and at the year's end, 
when I had qualified myself, you might make it two. Perhaps 
you'd give the two-hundred at once. I don't wish to presume 
because I'm a relative ; and if the two-hundred would be too 
much at first (for, to tell the truth, I don't know how bailiff's 
pay runs), please excuse my having named it. I expect there 
are lots of pretty cottages to be hired down there; perhaps one 
on the estate is set apart for the bailiff. I may as well mention 
that I am a first-rate horseman, and could gallop about like a 
fire-engine ; having nearly lost my life more times than one, 
learning to ride the wild cattle when up country at Port Natal. 

" I think that's all I have to say. Only try me ! If you do, 
you will find how willing I am. ISIy object in life now is to get 
a certainty that will bring me in something tolerably good to 
begin, and go on to three-hundred a year, or more ; for I 
should not like Annabel to take pupils always. I don't know 
whether a bailiff ever gets as much as that. 

" Bede Greatorex can give me a good character for steadi- 
ness and industry. And if I have stuck to this work, I should 



GERALD YORKE AT A SHOOTING PARTY, 387 

do better by yours ; for writing I hate, and knocking about a 
farm I should like better than anything. 

"Let me have an answer as soon as convenient. If you 
take me I shall have to order leggings and other toggery 
from Carrick's tailor; and he might be getting on with the 
things. 

" Wishing you a merry Christmas, which will soon be here 
(don't I recollect one of mine at Port Natal, when I had 
nothing for dinner and the same for supper), I remain, dear 
Vincent, yours truly, 

"Roland Yorke, 

" Sir Vincent Yorke." 

To watch the sarcastic curl of Gerald's lip, the angry flush of 
his face, as he perused this document, which the baronet handed 
to him with a laugh, was amusing. It might have served a 
painter as a model for scorn. Dropping the letter from his 
fingers, as if there were contamination in its very touch, he 
flicked it across the table. 

" You'll send it back to him in a blank envelope, won't 
you?" 

"No; why should I?" returned Sir Vincent, who was 
good-natured in the main. " I'll answer him when I've time. 
Do you know, Gerald, I think you rather disparage Roland." 

Gerald opened his astonished eyes. " Disparage him ! How 
can he be disparaged? — He is just as low as he can be. An 
awful blot, and nothing else, on the family escutcheon." 

" The family don't seem to be troubled much by him ! — 
myself excepted. He appears to regard me as a sheet-anchor, 
nble to provide for the world, himself included. I rather 
like the young fellow; he is so genuine." 

" Don't call him young," reproved Gerald ; " he will be 
twenty-nine next ISIay." 

"And in mind and manners he is nineteen." 

" He talks of pigs — see what he has brought his to," ex- 
claimed Gerald, somewhat forgetting his drawl. " The — • 
aw — low kind of work he condescends to do — the mean 
way he is not ashamed to confess he lives in ! Every bit 
of family pride has gone out of him, and given place to vulgar 
instincts." 

" As Roland has tumbled into the mire, better for him to be 
ho.ncst and work," returned Sir Vincent, mincing with his dry 



3B8 ROLAND YORKE. 

toast and a poached egg, for he was delicate in appetite. " What 
else could he do ? Of course, there's the credit system and 
periodical whitewashings, but I should not care to go in for 
that kind of thing myself." 

"Are you in want of a bailiff?" growled Gerald, wondering 
whether the remarks were meant to be personal. 

" Greatorex has engaged one for me. How are you getting 
on yourself, Gerald ? " 

" Not — aw — at all. I'm awfully hard up." 

" You always are, Ger, according to your own story," was the 
baronet's reply, laughing slightly. 

And somehow the laugh sounded hard, in Gerald's ear — - 
one that boded no good results to the petition he meant to 
prefer before his departure — that Sir Vincent would accommo- 
date him with a loan. 

" He's close-fisted as a miser," was Gerald's mental com- 
ment. " His father all over again. Neither of them would 
part with a shilling except for self-gratification ; and both could 
spend enough on that. I'll ask him for a hundred, point 
blank, before I leave ; more, if I can feel my way to do it. 
Fortune is shamefully unequal in this life. There's Vin with 
his baronetcy, his nice little place here and every comfort in it, 
his town-house, his clear four-thousand a year, and no end of 
odds and ends of money besides — nest eggs of various shapes 
and sizes — and his future wife a seventy-thousand pounder in 
her own right; and here's myself, a better man than he any 
day, with not a coin of my own in the whole world, nor 
likely to drop into one by inheritance, and afraid to venture 
about London for fear of being nabbed ! Curse the whole 
thing ! He is shabby in trifles too. To give me a miserable 
two days' invitation. Two days ! I'll remain twenty, if I 
can." 

"You don't eat, Gerald." 

" I've made a famous breakfast, thank you. Do you spend 
Christmas down here, Vincent ? " 

" Not I. The day after to-morrow, when you leave me, I 
start for Paris.'' 

" For Paris ! " echoed Gerald, his mouth opening at the 
sudden collapse of his agreeable scheme. 

" Miss Trehern and her father are there. We shall remain 
for the jour de ran, see the bonbon shops, and all that, and 
then come back again." 



GERALD YORKE AT A SHOOTING PARTY. i,Zg 

"And I hope the bonbon shops will choke him!" thought 
kindly Gerald. 

Sir Vincent Yorke did not himself go in for keepers and 
dogs. There was little game on his land, and he was too 
effeminate to be much of a sportsman. He owned two guns, 
and they comprised the whole of his shooting paraphernalia. 
Breakfast over, he had his guns brought in, and desired Gerald 
to take his choice. 

Now the handling of guns did not rank amidst Gerald 
Yorke's accomplishments. Brought up in the cathedral town, 
only away from it on occasion at Dr. Yorke's living (and that 
happened to be in a town also), the young Yorkes were not 
familiarized with outdoor sports. Dr. Yorke had never 
followed them himself, and saw no necessity for training his 
sons to them. Even riding they were not very familiar with. 
Roland's letter had just informed Sir Vincent that he had 
nearly lost his Xxiz learning to ride the w-ild horses when up the 
country at Port Natal. Probably he had also learnt something 
about guns. We may be very sure of one thing, that if he did 
not understand them, he would have voluntarily avowed it. 
Not so Gerald. Gerald, made up of artificiality — for nothing 
seemed real about him but his ill-temper — touched the guns 
here, and fingered the guns there, and critically examined 
them everywhere, as if he were the best shot alive, and had 
invented a breech-loader himself; and finally said he would 
take this one. 

So they went out, each with his gun and a favourite dog of 
the baronet's. Spot, and joined a neighbour's shooting party, 
as had been arranged. Colonel Glutton's land joined Sir 
Vincent's ; he was a keen lover of sport, always making up 
parties for it, and if Sir Vincent went out at all, it was sure to 
be with Colonel Glutton. 

" To-day and to-morrow will be my last turn out this 
season," observed the baronet, as they walked along. '' Not 
sorry for it. One gets a large amount of fatigue : don't think 
the slaughter compensates for that." 

At the meeting-place they found a party of some three or 
four gentlemen and two keepers. Gerald was introduced to 
Colonel Glutton, an elderly man with snow-white hair. The 
sport set in. It was late in the season, and the birds were 
getting scarce or wary, but a tolerably fair number fell. 

" The gentleman don't seem to handle his gun gainly, sir." 



390 ROLAND YORKE. 

observed one of the keepers confidentially in Sir Vincent's 
ear. 

He alluded to Gerald Yorke. Sir Vincent turned and 
looked. Though not much addicted to shooting, he was 
tlioroughly conversant with it : and what he saw, as he watched 
Gerald, a little surprised him. 

" I say, Gerald Yorke, you must take care," he called out. 
" Did you never handle a gun before? " 

The suggestion offended Gerald : the question nettled him. 
His face grew dark. 

"What do you mean. Sir Vincent?" was his angry retort. 
He would have liked to affirm his great knowledge of shooting : 
but his chief practice had been with a pop-gun at school. 

Sir Vincent laughed a little. " Don't do any mischief, that's 
all." 

It might have been that the caution caused Gerald to be 
more careless, just to prove his proficiency; it might have 
been that it tended to flurry him. Certainly he would not 
have done harm wilfully ; nevertheless it took place. 

Not ten minutes after Sir Vincent had spoken, he was 
crossing a narrow strip of ground towards a copse. Gerald, 
leaping through a gap in the hedge not far behind, and carrying 
his gun carelessly on full cock, contrived, in some inexplicable 
manner, to discharge it. Whether his elbow caught the leaf- 
less branches, or the trigger caught, or what it was, Gerald 
Yorke never knew, and never will know to his dying day. The 
charge went off; there was a cry, accompanied by warning 
shouts, some one on the ground in front, and others running 
to the fallen man. 

" You have no right to come out, sir, unless you can handle 
a gun properly 1 " spoke Colonel Glutton to Gerald, in the 
moment's consternation. "I have been watching your awk- 
wardness all the morning." 

Gerald looked pale with fear, dark with anger. He made 
no reply whatever : only pressed forward to see who was down : 
the men, in their velveteen coats and leggings, looking much 
alike. It was Sir Vincent Yorke. 

" It's not much, I think," said the baronet, good-naturedly, 
as he looked up at Gerald. " But I say, though, you should 
have candidly answered me that you were not in the habit of 
shooting, when I sent you the invitation." 

No, it was not much. A hw shots had entered the calf of 



GERALD YORKE AT A SHOOTING PARTY. 391 

the left leg. They got out pocket-handkerchiefs, and tied 
them round to stop the hemorrhage. The dog, Spot, laid his 
head close to his master's face, and whined pitiably. 

" What sense them dumb animals have ! — a'most human ! " 
remarked the keeper. 

" This will stop my Paris trip," observed Sir Vincent, as 
they were conveying him home. 

" Better that was stopped than your wedding," replied 
Colonel Glutton, with a smile. " You keep yourself quiet, 
now, that you may be well again for that. Don't talk." 

Sir Vincent acquiesced. At the best of times he was sensi- 
tive to pain, and somewhat of a coward in regard to his own 
health. At home he was met by a skilful surgeon. The shots 
were extracted, and Sir Vincent was made comfortable in bed, 
Gerald Yorke waylaid the doctor afterwards. 

*' Is it serious? Will he do well? Sir Vincent is my 
cousin." 

" Oh — Mr. Yorke : the gentleman whose gun unfortunately 
caused the mishap," was the reply. " Of course these accidents 
are always more or less serious. This one might have been 
far worse than it is." 

" He will do well ? " 

" Quite well. At least, I hope so. I see nothing to prevent 
it. Sir Vincent will be a tractable patient, you see ; and a 
good deal lies in that." 

" There's no danger, then?" 

" Oh no : no danger." 

Gerald, relieved on the score of consequences, had the grace 
to express his regret and sorrow to the baronet. Sir Vincent 
begged him to think no more about it : only recommended him 
not to go out with a party in future, until he had had some 
practice. Gerald, untrue to the end, said he was a little out of 
practice ; should soon get into it again. Sir Vincent made 
light of the hurt ; it was nothing to speak of, the doctor had 
said ; would not delay his marriage, or anything. But he did 
not ask Gerald to remain : and that gentleman, in spite of his 
hints, and his final offer to stay, found he was expected to 
leave. Sir Vincent expressed his acknowledgments, but said 
he wished for perfect quiet. 

So, on the day following the accident, Gerald Yorke returned 
to town ; which was a day sooner than, even at the worst, he 
had bargained for ; and arrived in a temper. Taking one dis- 



392 ROLAND YORKE. 

appointment with another, Gerald's mood could not be ex- 
pected to be heavenly. He had fully intended to come away 
with his pockets lined — if by dint of persuasion Sir Vincent 
could be seduced ioto doing it. As it was, Gerald had not 
broached the subject. Sir Vincent was to be kept quiet ; and 
Gerald, with all his native assurance, could not ask a man for 
money whom he had just shot. 



CHAPTER Xin. 

IN CUSTODY. 



Pacing his carpet, in the worst possible state of perturbation, 
was the Reverend Mr. Ollivera. He had so paced it all the 
morning. Neglecting his ordinary duties, staying indoors when 
he ought to have been out, unable to eat or to rest, he was in a 
state of distressing indecision. The whole night had he tossed 
and turned, and risen up again and again to pace his room, 
battling with his conscience. For years past, he had, so to 
say, lived on the anticipation of this hour, when the memory of 
his dear brother should be cleared of its stain, and the true 
criminal be brought to light. And, now that it had come, he 
was hesitating whether or not to take advantage of it : whether 
to let the stain remain, and the criminal escape. 

Consumed with doubt and pain, was he. Unable to see 
where his duty lay, more than once, with lifted hands and heart, 
a cry to Heaven to direct him broke from his lips. Passages of 
Scripture, bearing both ways, crowded on his mind, to puzzle 
him the more ; but there was one great lesson he could not 
ignore — the loving, merciful teaching of Jesus Christ. 

About one o'clock, when the remembrance of the miserable 
grave, and of him who had been so miserably laid in it, was 
strong upon him, Alletha Rye came into the room, some white 
ci-avats of the parson's in her hand. She was neat and nice as 
usual, wearing a soft merino gown with white worked cuffs and 
collars, her fair hair smooth and abundant. 

" I have done the best I could with them, sir : cut off the 
ed^es and hemmed them again," she said. " After that, I 



IN CUSTODY. 393 

passed the iron over them, and they look just as if freshly got 
up." 

" Thank you," murmured Mr. Ollivera, the colour flushing 
his face, and speaking in a confused sort of way, like a man 
overtaken in a crime. 

" Great Heaven, can I go on with it ? " he exclaimed, as she 
went out, leaving the cravats on the table. " Is it possible, 
with her calm good face, her clear honest eye, to believe her 
guilty ? " he continued, in an agony of distress. " Oh, for 
guidance ! that I may be shown what my course ought to be ! " 

As a personal matter, to give Alletha Rye into custody 
would cause him grievous pain. She had lived under the 
same roof with him, showing him voluntarily a hundred little 
courtesies and kindnesses. These white cravats of his, just put 
right, had been undertaken in pure goodwill. 

How very much of our seasons of terrible distress might 
be spared to us, if we could only see a little further than the 
present moment. Henry William Ollivera might have been 
saved his, had he only known that while he was doubting, 
another was acting. Mr. Greatorex had taken it into his own 
hands, and the trouble was, even then, at the very door. In 
after-life, Henry Ollivera never ceased to be thankful that it 
was not he himself who had brought it. 

A commotion below. Mn Roland Yorke had entered, and 
was calling for his dinner. It was taken to him in the shape 
of some roast mutton and potatoes. When Mrs. Jones had 
a joint herself, Roland was served from it. That she was no 
gainer by the bargain, Mrs. Jones Avas conscious of; the small 
sum she allowed herself in repayment out of the weekly 
sovereign, debarred it : but Roland was favoured for the sake 
of old times. 

Almost immediately after, there came a rather quiet double 
knock at the street-door, which Miss Rye answered. Roland 
thought he recognized a voice, and ran out. 

" Why, it's never you, old Butterby ! What brings you in 
London again ? " 

Whatever brought Mr. Butterby to London, something 
curious appeared to have brought him to Mrs. Jones's. A 
policeman had followed him in, and was closing the street- 
door with a quite-at-home manner. There escaped a faint 
cry from Alletha, and her face turned white as ashes. Roland 
looked from one to the other, 



394 ROLAND YORKE. 

" What on earth's the matter?" demanded he. 
" I should like to speak to you in private for a minute, Miss 
Rye," said Mr. Butterby, in low, civil tones. " Tompkins, you 
wait there." 

She went further down the passage and looked round some- 
what like a stag at bay. There was no unoccupied room to 
take him to. Mr. Brown's frugal dinner-tray was on his table 
awaiting his arrival. That the terrible man of law with his 
officer had come to arrest hwi Alletha never doubted for a 
moment. A hundred wild ideas of telegraphing him some 
impossible 'warning, not to enter, went teeming through her 
brain. Tompkins stood on the entrance mat ; Roland Yorke, 
with his usual curiosity, remained outside his door to watch 
proceedings. 

" Miss Rye, I wouldn't have done this of my own accord, 
leastways not so soon, but it has been forced upon me," 
whispered Mr. Butterby. " I've to ask you to go with me." 

" To ask me 1 " she tremblingly replied, whilst he was showing 
her a paper : probably the warrant 

"Are you so much surprised: after that avowal you made 
to me last night ? If I'd gone and told a police-officer that / 
had killed somebody, it would not astonish me to be took." 

Her face fell. The pallor of her cheeks was coloured by a 
faint crimson ; her eyes flashed condemningly. 

" I told you in confidence, as one friend might speak to 
another, in defence of him who was not there to defend him- 
self," she panted. " How could I suppose you would 
treacherously use it against me ? " 

"Ah," said Mr. Butterby, "in things of that sort us law 
defenders are just the wrong sort to make confidants of But 
now, look here, Miss Rye ; I didn't go and abuse that confi- 
dence, and though it is me that has put the wheels in motion, 
it is done in obedience to orders which I had no power to 
stop. I'm sorry to have to do it : and I've come down with 
the warrant myself out of respect to you, that things might be 
accomplished as genteel as might be." 

" Now then, Alletha ! Do you know that your dinner's 
getting cold? What on earth are you stopping there for? 
Who is it ? " 

The interruption was from Mrs. Jones, who was in her 
parlour. Alletha, returning no response, looked ready to die. 

" Have you come to arrest me? " she whispered. 



IN CUSTODY. 395 

" Well, that's about it, Miss Rye, Apprehend, that is. We'll 
get a cab and you'll go in it with my friend there, all snug and 
quiet. I'm vexed that young Yorke should just be at home. 
Tried to get here half-an-hour earlier, but " 

Mrs. Jones's door was pulled open. To describe her 
astonishment when she saw the state of affairs, would be a 
work of skill. Alletha with a countenance of ghastly terror ; 
Mr. Butterby whispering to her; the policeman on the door- 
mat ; Roland Yorke looking leisurely on. 

"Well, I'm sure!" exclaimed Mrs. Jones. "What may be 
the meaning of this ? " 

There could be no concealment now. Had Alletha in her 
secret heart hoped to keep it from her tart and strong-minded 
sister, the possibility was over. She went down the few steps 
that led to the room, and entered it; Mr. Butterby close 
behind her. The latter was shutting the door, when Roland 
Yorke taking French leave, walked in. 

Which of the two stared the most, Mrs. Jones or Roland, 
and which of the two felt inclined to abuse Mr. Butterby the 
most, when his errand became known, remains a question to 
this day. Roland's championship was hot and fierce. 

"You know you always do take the wrong people, But- 
terby ! " 

"Now, young Mr. Y'orke, just concern yourself with your 
own business, and leave other folks' alone," wasjhe detective's 
reprimand. " I don't see what call you have to be in this 
here room at all." 

In all phases of the affair, its conjectures and suspicions, 
from the first moment that she saw John Ollivera lying dead 
in her house, the possibility of Alletha's being cognizant of the 
mystery, much less connected with it, had never once entered 
the head of Mrs. Jones. She stared from one to the other in 
simple wonder. 

" What is it you charge my sister with, Butterby? — the 
death of Counsellor Ollivera? " 

" Well, yes ; that's it," he answered. 

" And how dare you do it ? " 

" Now, look you here, Mrs. Jones," said Butterby, in reason- 
ing tones, putting his hand calmly on her wrist ; " I've told 
Miss Rye, and I tell you, that these proceedings are instituted 
by the law, not by me. If I had not come to carry them out, 
another would, ^yho might have done it in a rougher way 



396 ROLAND YORKE. 

A woman of your sense ought to see the matter in its right 
light. I don't say she's guilty, and I hope she'll be able to 
prove that she's not ; but I can tell you this much, Mrs. Jones, 
there's them that have had their suspicions turned upon her 
from the first. " 

Being a woman of sense, as Mr. Butterby delicately in- 
sinuated, Mrs. Jones began to feel a trifle staggered. Not at 
his words : they had little power over her mind, but at 
Alletha's appearance. Leaning against the wall, white, faint, 
silent, she looked as one guilty rather than innocent. And it 
suddenly struck Mrs. Jones that she did not attempt a syllable 
in her own defence. 

"Why don't you speak out, girl?" she demanded, in her 
tartest tones. " You can, I suppose ? " 

But the commotion had begun to attract attention in the 
quiet house. Not so much by sound, as by that subtle instinct 
which makes itself heard, we cannot tell how; and Mr. 
Ollivera came in. 

" Who has done this ? " he briefly asked of the detective. 

" Mr. Greatorex, sir." 

" The next thing they'll do may be to take me up on the 
charge," spoke Mrs. Jones, with acrimony. " What on earth 
put this into their miserable heads ? You don't suspect her, 
I hope, Mr. Ollivera ? " 

He only looked in silence at Mrs. Jones by way of answer, 
a grave meaning in his sad face. It spoke volumes : and 
Mrs. Jones, albeit not one to give way to emotion, or any other 
weakness, felt as if a jug of cold water were being poured 
down her back. Straightforward always, she put the question 
to him with abrupt plainness. 

" Do you suspect her ? " 

" I have suspected her," came the low tones of Mr. Ollivera 
in answer. "Believe me, Mrs. Jones, whatever may be the 
final result of this, I grieve for it bitterly." 

" I say, why can't you speak up, and say you did not do 
it?" stamped Roland, in his championship. "Don't be 
frightened out of your senses by Butterby. He never pitches 
upon the right person ; Mrs. J. remembers that^ 

" As this here talking won't do any good — and I'm sure if it 
would I'd let it go on a bit — suppose we make a move," inter- 
posed Butterby. " If you'd like to put up a few things to take 
with you, Miss Rye, do so. You'll have to go to Helstonleigh/? 



IN CUSTODY. 397 

"Oh law!" cried Roland. "I say, Butterby, it's a mis- 
take, I know. Let her go. Come ! you shall have all my 
dinner." 

" Don't stand there like a statue, as if you were moon- 
struck," said Mrs. Jones, seizing her sister, to administer a 
slight shaking. "Tell them you are innocent, girl, if you can ; 
and let Butterby go about his business." 

And in response, Alletha neither spoke nor moved. 

But at this moment another actor appeared upon the scene. 
A knock at the front-door was politely answered by the police- 
man, glad, no doubt, to have something to do, and Mr. Brown 
entered, arriving for his midday meal. Roland dashed into 
the passage. 

"I say, Brown, here t's a stunning shame. Old Butterby's 
come to take up Alletha Rye." 

" Take her up for what ? " Mr. Brown calmly asked. 

" For kilhng and slaying Counsellor Ollivera, he says. But 
in these things he never was anything but a calf." 

Mr. Brown turned into his room, put down his hat and a 
small paper parcel, and went on to the scene of action. 
Before he could say a word, Alletha Rye burst forth as one 
demented. 

" Don't come here, Mr. Brown. We've nothing to do with 
strangers. I can't have all the world looking at me." 

Mr. Brown took a quiet survey of matters with perfect self- 
possession, and then drew Mr. Butterby towards his room, just 
as though he possessed the whole authority of Scotland Yard, 
Mrs. Jones, left alone with her sister, caught hold of her hands. 

" Now then ! V/hat is the English of this ? Had you any- 
thing to do with the death of Mr. Ollivera ? " 

" Never," said Alletha. " I would not have hurt a hair of 
his head." 

Mrs. Jones, at the answer, hardly knew whether to slap the 
young woman's face or to shriek at her. All this disgrace 
brought upon her house, and Alletha to submit to it tamely. 
As a preliminary, she began a torrent of words. 

"Hush!" said Alletha. "They think me guilty, and at 
present they must be allowed to think so. I cannot help my« 
self: if Butterby conveys me to Helstonleigh, he must do it"^ 

Mrs. Jones was nearly astounded out of her passion. The 
cold water went trickling down again. Not at once could she 
answer. 



398 ROLAND YORKE. 

" Lord help the wench for a fool ! Don't you know that 
if you are conveyed to Helstonleigh it would be to take your 
trial at the next assizes? Would you face thatV 

" I cannot tell," wailed AUetha, putting up her thin hand to 
her troubled face. " I must have time to think." 

But we must follow Mr. Brown. As he passed into his 
room and closed the door, he took a tolerably long look into 
Butterby's eyes : possibly hoping to discover whether that 
astute officer knew him for Godfrey Pitman. He obtained no 
result. Had Mr. Butterby been a born natural he could not 
have looked more charmingly innocent. That he chose to 
indulge this demand for an interview for purposes of his own, 
those who knew him could not doubt. They stood together 
before the fireless hearth. However cold the weather might 
be, Mr. Brown's fire went out after breakfast and was not 
relighted until night. 

" I beg your pardon, Mr. Butterby. With so much con- 
fusion in there" — nodding in the direction of Mrs. Jones's 
parlour — " I am not sure that I fully understood. Is it true 
that you are about to take Miss Rye into custody on suspicion 
of having caused the death of John Ollivera ? " 

" I have taken her," was the curt answer. " It is nothing to 
you, I suppose." 

" It is this much to me : that I happen to be in a position to 
declare that she did not do it." 

"Oh, you think so, do you," said Butterby, in civil but 
slightly mocking tones. " I have known ten men at least 
swear to one man's innocence, and him guilty all the while. 
Don't say it was perjury : appearances is deceptive, and human 
nature's soft." 

" I affirm, in the hearing of Heaven, that Alletha Rye was 
innocent of the death of John Ollivera," said Mr, Brown, in 
solemn tones that might have carried conviction even to a less 
experienced ear. " She had nothing whatever to do with it. 
Until the following morning, when she found him, she was as 
ignorant as you that he was dead." 

" Then why don't she speak up and say so ? Not that it 
could make any difference at the present stage of affairs." 

"Will you let me ask who it is that has had her appre- 
hended ? Mr. Bede Greatorex ? " 

" Bede Greatorex has had nothing to do with it. 'Twas his 
father." 



IN CUSTODY. 399 

" Well now, 1 have a favour to ask you, Mr. Butterby," con- 
tinued the other, after a pause. " The good name of a young 
woman is a great deal easier lost than regained, as no one 
knows better than yourself. It will be an awful thing if Alletha 
Rye, being innocent — as I swear to you she is — should be ac- 
cused of this dreadful crime before the world. You have 
known her a long time : will you not stretch a point to save 
it ? " 

"That might depend a good deal upon what the point was," 
replied Mr. Butterby. 

"A very simple one. Only this — that you would stay pro- 
ceedings until I have had time to see Bede Greatorex. Let 
her remain here, in custody of course — for I am not so foolish 
as to suppose you could release her — but don't take her away, 
In fact, frmi her as though you knew she were wrongfully 
accused. You may be obliged to me for this later, Mr. 
Butterby — I won't say in the interests of humanity, but of 
justice." 

Various thoughts and experiences of the past, as connected 
with Bede Greatorex, came crowding into the mind of Butterby. 
His lips parted with a smile, but it was not a favourable one. 

" I think that Bede Greatorex could join with me in satisfy- 
ing you that it was not Miss Rye," urged the petitioner. " I 
am almost sure he can do this, if he will." 

" Which is as much as to say that both he and you have your 
suspicions turned on some other quarter," rejoined Butterby. 
" Who was it ? " 

That Mr. Brown's cheeks took a darker tinge at the direct 
query, was plainly visible. He made no answer. 

" Come ! Who did the deed ? You know ? " 

" If I do not know — and I am unable to tell you that I do, 
Mr. Butterby — I can yet make a shrewd guess at it." 

" And Bede Greatorex too, you say ? " 

" I fancy he can." 

Looking into each other's eyes, those two deep men, a 
silence ensued. *' If it wasn't this woman," whispered 
Butterby, "perhaps it was another." 

The clerk opened his lips to speak impulsively ; but he 
closed them again, still looking hard at the officer. 

" Whether it was or not, the woman was not Alletha Rye." 

"Then," said Mr. Butterby, following out his own thoughts, 
and giving the table an emphatic slap, which caused the frugal 



4CO ROLAND YORKE. 

luncheon-tray upon it to jingle, "this thing will never be brought 
to trial." 

"I don't much think it will," was the significant answer. 
" But you will consent to what I ask ? I won't be away long. 
A quarter-of-an-hour will suffice for my interview with Bede 
Greatorex." 

Weighing chances and possibilities, as it lay in the business 
of Mr. Butterby to do ; knowing who the man before him was, 
with the suspicion attaching to him, he thought it might be as 
well to keep him in view. There was no apparent intention to 
escape; the clerk seemed honest as the day in his present 
purpose, and strangely earnest ; but Mr. Butterby had learnt 
to trust no one. 

" I'll go with you," said he. " Tompkins will keep matters 
safe here. Come on. Hang me if this case ever had its 
fellow : it turns one about with its Uttle finger." 



CHAPTER XIV. 

BETWEEN BEDE AND HIS CLERK. 

They stood near to each other, Bede Greatorex and his 
managing-clerk, while Mr. Butterby paced the passage with- 
out. ^ 

When interrupted, Bede had his elbow on the mantel-piece, 
his brow bent on his thin fingers. A blazing fire here, the coal 
crackling and sparkling cheerily. Bede dropped his elbow. 

"What is it, Mr. Brown?" he rather languidly asked. 

Mr. Brown, closing the door, went straight up and said what 
it was : Alletha Rye had been apprehended. But he looked 
anywhere, as he spoke, rather than into the face of his master. 
A face that grew suddenly white and cold : and Mr. Brown, in 
his delicacy of mind, would not appear to see it. 

" What a cursed meddler that Butterby is ! " exclaimed 
Bede. 

" I fancy he had no alternative in this, sir ; it was not left to 
his option." 

" Who did it, then ? " 

" Mr. Greatorex. This must be remedied at once, sir." 



BETWEEN BEDE AND HIS CLERK. 40? 

By the authoritative manner in which he spoke, it might 
have been thought that Bede Greatorex was the servant, Brown 
the master. Bede put his elbow on the shelf again, and pushed 
back his hair in unmistakable agitation. The once-luxuriant 
crop was growing thin now; and silver threads- interwove with 
the black ones. 

"She must be saved," repeated Mr. Brown. 

" I suppose so. Who is to do it ? " 

" I must, sir. If no one else does." 

Bede raised his eyes to glance at his clerk ; but it was not 
a full free glance, and they were instantly dropped again. 

" You are the Godfrey Pitman, they tell me, who was in the 
house at the time." 

"Yes, I am. But have you not known it all along, Mr. 
Bede Greatorex ? " 

" All along from when ? " 

Mr. Brown hesitated. " From the time I came here as 
clerk." 

" No ; certainly I have not." 

"There were times, sir, when I fancied it." 

A long silence. Even now, whatever secret there might 
be between these two men, neither was at ease with the 
other. Bede especially seemed to shrink from further ex- 
planation. 

"I have known but for a short time of your identity with 
Godfrey Pitman," he resumed. "And with George Winter. 
I have been waiting my own time to confer with you upon the 
subject. We have been very busy." 

We have been very busy ! If Bede put that forth as an 
excuse, it did not serve him : for his hearer knew it was not 
the true one. He simply answered that they had been very 
busy. Not by so much as a look or a syllable would George 
Winter — let us at last give him his true name — add to the 
terrible pain he knew his master to be suffering. 

" About Miss Rye, sir ? She must be extricated from her 
unpleasant position." 

"Yes, of course." 

" And her innocence proved." 

" At the expense of another ? " asked Bede, without lifting 
his eyes. 

" No," answered the other, in low tones. " I do not thmk 
that need be." 

Roland Yorke. 26 



462 ROLAND YORKE. 

Bede looked straight into the fire, his companion full at 
the window-blind, drawn half-down ; neither of them at one 
another. 

" How will you avoid it? " asked Bede. 
•' I think it may be avoided, sir. For a little time past, I 
have foreseen that some such crisis as this would come : and 
I have dwelt and dwelt upon it until I seem to be able to track ■ 
out my way perfectly clear in it." 

Bede cracked the coal in the grate ; which did not require 
cracking. " Do you mean that you have foreseen that Miss 
Rye would be taken ? Such a thought in regard to her never 
crossed my mind." 

"Nor mine. I allude to myself, sir. If once I was dis- 
covered to be the so-called Godfrey Pitman — and some instinct 
told me the discovery was at last approaching — I knew that 
I should, in all probability, be charged with the murder of 
Mr. OUivera. I — an innocent man — would not suffer for 
this, Mr. Greatorex; I should be obliged, in self-defence, to 
repel the accusation : and I have been considering how it 
might be done without compromising others. I think it can 
be done." 

" How ? " repeated Bede shortly. 

" By my not telling the whole truth. By not knowing — I 
mean not having recognized the — the one — who would be 
compromised if I did tell it. I think this is feasible, sir." 

Just a momentary glance into each other's eyes ; no more ; 
and it spoke volumes. Bede, facing the fire again, stood 
several minutes in deep consideration. George Winter seemed 
occupied with one of his gloves that had a refractory button. 

" In any case it must now be known who you are," said 
Bede. 

"That will not matter. In throwing the onus of the " 

he seemed to hesitate, as he had once hesitated in the last 
sentence — " the death off Miss Rye, I throw it equally off my 
own shoulders. I have for some months wished that I could 
declare myself" 

" Why have you not done it ? " 

George Winter looked at his master, surprise in his eyes. 
" It is not for my own sake that I have kept it secret, sir." 

No. Bede Greatorex knew that it was for /ii's ; at least 
for his interests ; and he felt the obligation in his heart. He 
did not speak it ; pride and a variety of other unhappy feel- 



Between bede and his clerk. 403 

ings kept him silent. Of all the miserable moments that the 
death of John Ollivera had entailed upon him, this confidential 
interview with his clerk was not the least wretched of them. 
Forced though he was to hold it, he hated it with his whole 
soul. 

" You took that cheque from my desk," said Bede. " And 
wrote me the subsequent letter." 

" I did not take it from the desk, sir. Your expressed and 
continued belief — that you had put it in — was a mistaken 
one. It must have slipped from your hands when about to 
lock up the other papers you held, and fluttered under the 
table. Perhaps you will allow me to give you the explanation 
now." 

Bede nodded. 

" In the morning of the day that the cheque was lost, you 
may remember coming into the front-room and seeing a 
stranger with me. His name was Foster; a farmer and 
corn-dealer near Birmingham. I had been out on an errand ; 
and, in turning in again, a gentleman stopped me to inquire 
the way. While I was directing him a mutual recognition 
ensued. In one sense I owed him some money : forty- 
four pounds. Samuel Teague, of whom you may have 
heard " 

*' I know," interrupted Bede. 

" Samuel Teague, just before he ran away, had got me to 
put my name to a bill for him ; Mr. Foster, in all good faith, 
had let him have the money for it. It had never been repaid. 
But upon Mr. Foster's meeting me that morning, he gave me 
my choice — to find the money for him before he left London, 
or be publicly denounced as George Winter. I thought he 
would have denounced me then and there. He came into the 
office and would not be got rid of: saying that he had looked 
for me too long to let me go, now that I was found. What I 
was to do I did not know. / had no objection to resuming 
my own name, for I had cleared myself with Johnson and 
Teague, but it must have involved the exposure of the affair at 
Helstonleigh. The thought occurred to me of declaring the 
dilemma to you, letting you decide whether that exposure should 
come, or whether you would lend me the forty-four pounds to 
avert it. But I shrank from doing that." 

"Why?" again interposed Bede. 

" Because I thought you would dislike my entering upon 



404 PvOLAND YORKE. 

the subject, sir. I have shrunk from it always. Now that 
the necessity is forced upon me, I am shrinking from it as I 
speak." 

Ah, but not so much so as Bede. " Go on." 

" While I sat at my desk, deliberating, Mr. Frank came in, 
asking you to draw out a cheque for Sir Richard Yorke for 
forty-four pounds. The coincidence between the sum and the 
money demanded of me, struck me as being most singular. It 
strikes me so still. Later in the morning, I came into this 
room with some deeds, and saw a piece of paper lying under 
the table. Upon picking it up — which I did simply to replace 
it on the desk — I found it was the cheque. My first thought 
was that it must be a special, almost a supernatural, intervention 
in my favour; my second, that it was just possible you had left 
it there for me to take. Both ideas very far-fetched and imagi- 
native, as I saw at once. But I used the cheque, Mr. Bede 
Greatorex. I went home, put on the false hair I had worn as 
Godfrey Pitman, for I have it by me still, and cashed the 
cheque. It was not for my sake I did this ; I hated it bitterly. 
And then I hesitated to use the money. At night I went to 
Mr. Foster's hotel, and told him that I would get the money 
for him by the following night if I could. If I could not, he 
must carry out his threat of denouncing me. Foster consented 
to wait. I returned to my lodgings and wrote that anonymous 
note to you, sir, not telling you who had taken the cheque ; 
merely saying that exposure was threatened of the circum- 
stances, known only to one or two, attendant on Mn Ollivera's 
death at Helstonleigh ; that the money had been taken to avert 
the exposure, and would be applied to that purpose, provided 
you were agreeable. If not, and you wished the money re- 
turned, you were requested to drop a note without the loss of 
a moment to a certain address : if no such note were written, 
the money would be used in the course of the day, and 
things kept silent as heretofore. You sent no answer, and 
I paid it away to Foster in the evening. I have never been 
able to decide whether you suspected me as the writer, or 
not" 

" No. I fancied it might be Hurst." 

" Hurst ! " exclaimed George Winter, in great surprise. 

Bede looked up for a moment. " I felt sure the cheque 
must have been taken by one of you in the next room. Not 
knowing you then for Godfrey Pitman, my thoughts fell on 



BETWEEN BEDE AND HIS CLERK. 405 

Hurst. His father was the attendant surgeon at the time, and 
might have made some critical discovery." 

" I don't see how he could have done that, sir," was the 
answer. 

" Nor did I. But it is the doubt in these cases that causes 
the fear. I should like to ask you a question — was it by 
accident or of purposed design that you came to our house as 
clerk ? " 

" Purely by accident. When misfortune fell upon me in 
Birmingham, and I was unwise enough to follow Samuel 
'league's example and run away, I retained one friend who 
stood by me. After quitting Helstonleigh on the Monday 
night, I concealed myself elsewhere for three or four days, 
and then went to him in Essex, where he lived. He procured 
me a clerkship in a lawyer's office in the same county, Mr. 
Gale's, with whom I stayed about a year. Mr. Cale found me 
very useful, and when his health failed, and he retired in con- 
sequence from practice, he sent me up here to Mr. Greatorex 
with a strong recommendation." 

" You have served us well," said Bede. " Was not your 
quitting Birmingham a mistake ? " 

" The worst I ever made. I solemnly declare that I was 
entirely innocent. Not only innocent myself, but unsuspicious 
of anything wrong on the part of Samuel Teague. He took 
me in, as he took in every one else. Johnson and Teague 
know it now, and have at length done me the justice to ac- 
knowledge it. I knew of young Teague's profuse expenditure : 
he used to tell me he had the money from his uncle, old Mr. 
Teague, and it never occurred to me to doubt him. Where I 
erred, was in going to the old man and blurting out the truth. 
He died of the shocL I shall never forgive myself for that. 
It seems to me always as though I had murdered him. With 
his dead form, as it seemed, pursuing me, with the knowledge 
that I was to be included in the charge of forgery, I lost my 
senses. In my fright, I saw no escape but in flight ; and I got 
away on the Sunday afternoon as far as Helstonleigh. It was 
in the opposite direction to the one Samuel Teague was 
thought to have taken, and I wanted to see Alletha Rye, if it 
were practicable, and assure her before we finally parted, that, 
though bad enough, I was not quite the villain people were 
making me out to be. There — there are strange coincidences 
in this life, Mr. Bede Greatorex." 



4o6 ROLAND YORKE. 

" You may well say that," answered Bede. 

" And one of the strangest was that of my accidentally meet- 
ing Alletha Rye five minutes after I had reached Helstonleigh. 
Forgetting my disguise, I stopped to accost her — and have not 
yet forgotten her surprise. But I had not courage then to tell 
her the truth : I simply said I was in trouble through false 
friends, and was ill — which was really the case — and I asked 
her if. she could give me shelter for a day or two, or recom- 
mend me to a place where I might be private and to myself. 
The result was, that I went to Mrs. Jones's, introduced as a 
stranger, one Godfrey Pitman. I hit upon the name hap- 
hazard. And before I left, I was drawn into that business 
concerning Mr. Ollivera." 

Bede Greatorex made no answer, A coincidence ! One of 
Heaven's sending. 

" Why so much ill-luck should have fallen upon me I cannot 
tell," resumed George Winter. " I started in life, hoping and 
intending to do my duty as conscientiously as most men do it ; 
and I've tried to do it, that's more. Fate has not been kind 
to me." 

" There are others that it has been less kind to," spoke 
Bede, his tone marked by ill-suppressed agitation. " Your 
liabilities in Birmingham? Are they wiped out?" 

" Others' liabilities you mean, sir ; I had none of my own. 
Yes, I have scraped, and saved, and paid ; paid all. I am 
saving now to repay you the forty-four pounds, and have about 
twenty pounds towards it. But for having my good old 
mother on my hands — she lives in Wales — I should have 
cleared myself earlier." 

" You need not trouble yourself about the forty-four pounds," 
said Bede, recognizing the wondrous obligations he and his 
were under to this silent, self-denying man. 

" If it were forty-four hundred, sir, I should work on until 
I had paid it, life being granted me." 

" Very well," replied Bede. " I may be able to recompense 
you in another way." 

If Bede Greatorex thought that any simple order of his 
would release Miss Rye from custody, he found himself mis- 
taken. Butterby, called into the conference, was almost 
pleasantly derisive. 

" You assure me she was not guilty ! and Mr. Brown there can 
assure me she was not guilty ! And, following up those words, 



BETWEEN BEDE AND HIS CLERK. 407 

you say, ' Let her go, Butterby ! ' Why, you might as well 
tell me to draw down the stars from the sky, Mr. Bede Greato- 
rex. I've no more power over the one than I have over the 
other." 

" But she is innocent," reiterated Bede. " Mr. Brown here 
— you know who he is — can bear witness to it." 

Butterby nodded carelessly in the direction of Mr. Brown — 
as much as to say that his knowing who he was went for a 
matter of course. But he was sternly uncompromising. 

" Look here, Mr. Bede Greatorex. " It's all very well for 
you to say Miss Rye's innocent ; and for that clever gentleman 
by your side to say she's innocent — and himself too, I suppose 
he'd like to add ; but you, as a lawyer, must know that all 
that is of no manner of use. If you two will bring forward the 
right party, and say, ' This is the guilty one,' and prove it to 
the satisfaction of the law and of Mr. Greatorex, that would be 
another thing. Only in that case can Miss Rye be set at 
liberty." ' 

" You — you do not know what family interests are involved 
in this, Mr. Butterby," Bede said, in a tone of pain. 

"Can guess at 'em," responded Butterby. 

Bede inwardly thought the boast a mistaken one, but he let it 
pass. 

"If my father were acquainted with the true facts of the 
case," spoke he, " he would never bring it to trial ; I tell you 
this on my honour." * 

" You know yourself who the party was ; I see that," said 
Butterby. 

" I do — Heaven spare me ! " 

There was a strange ring of helplessness mingling with the 
anguish of the avowal, as if Bede could contend with fate no 
longer. Even the officer felt for him. George Winter looked 
round at him with a glance of caution, as much as to say 
there was no necessity to avow too much. Bede bent his 
head, and strove to see, as well as the hour's trouble and 
perplexity would allow him, what might and what might not 
be done. Butterby, responsible to the Helstonleigh magistrates, 
who had granted the warrant, would have to be satisfied, as 
well as Mr. Greatorex. 

Another minute, and Bede went forth to seek an interview 
with his father, who was alone in his room. Bede, almost as 
though he were afraid of his courage leaving him, entered upon 



4o8 ROLAND YORKE. 

the matter before he had well closed the door. Not in any 
torrent of words : he spoke only a few, and those with almost 
painful calmness : but his breath was laboured, and he himself 
was perceptibly agitated. 

" Give Butterby my authority to release Alletha Rye from 
custody, because you happen to know that she is innocent ! " 
exclaimed Mr. Greatorex, in surprise. " Why, what can you 
mean, Bede ? " 

Bede told his tale. Hampered by various fears lest he 
might drop an unguarded word, it was rather a lame one. Mr. 
Greatorex leaned back in his chair, and looked at Bede as he 
listened. They held, unconsciously, much the same position 
that they had held that March day nearly five years ago in 
another room, when the tale of the death was first told, Bede 
having then just got up with it from Helstonleigh : Mr. Greato- 
rex sitting, Bede standing with his arm on the mantel-piece, 
his face partly turned away. Bede had grown quite into the 
habit of standing thus, to press his hand to his brow : it seemed 
as though some weight or pain were always there. 

" I don't understand you, Bede," spoke Mr. Greatorex, 
frankly. "You tell me you know of your own cognizance 
that Alletha Rye was innocent? That you knew it at the 
time?" 

*' Almost of my own cognizance," corrected Bede. 

" Which must be equivalent to saying that you know who 
was guilty." ' 

*' No ; I don't know that," murmured Bede, his face growing 
damp with the conscious lie. 

" Then what do you know, that you should wish to interfere ? 
You have always said it was a case of suicide." 

" It was not that, father," was Bede's, low shrinking answer. 
But he looked into his father's eyes with thrilling earnestness 
as he gave it. 

Mr. Greatorex began to feel slightly uncomfortable. He 
detested mystery of all kinds ; and there was something 
unpleasantly mysterious in Bede's voice, and looks, and words, 
and manner. 

"Did you know at the time that it was not suicide ?" pur- 
sued Mr. Greatorex. 

I/o7v should Bede get through this ? say what he must say, 
and yet not say too much ? He mentally asked himself the 
question. 



NEARER AND NEARER. 4--9 

" There was just a suspicion of it in my mind, sir. Any 
way, AUetha Rye must be set at liberty." 

'* I do not understand what you say, Bede ; I do not under- 
stand you. Your manner on this subject has ahvays been an 
enigma to me. WilHam OlUvera holds the opinion that you 
must be screening some one." 

A terrible temptation, hard to battle with, assailed Bede 
Greatorex at the charge — to avow to his father who and what 
he had been screening ever since the death. He forced himself 
to silence until it had passed. 

"What is troubling you, Bede?" 

Mr, Greatorex might well ask it ; with that sad countenance 
in front of him, working with its pain. In his grievous per- 
plexity, Bede gave the true answer. 

" I was thinking if it were possible for Pitman's explanation 
to be avoided, father." 

" What ! Is Pitman found ? " 

"Yes, he is found," quietly answered Bede. "He " 

The room door was opening to admit some visitors, and 
Bede turned. Surely the star of the House of Greatorex 
could not be in the ascendant ! For they were Judge Kene 
and Henry William Ollivera. 

And the concealment that he had striven and toiled for, and 
worn out his health and life to keep; fighting ever, mentally 
or physically, against Fate's relentless hand, was felt to be at 
an end by Bede Greatorex. 



CHAPTER XV. 

NEARER AND NEARER. 



On a sofa, drawn at right angles with the fire, lay Hamish 
Channing; his bright head raised, a crimson coverlet thrown 
over his feet. In the last day or two he had grown perceptibly 
worse ; that is, weaker. The most sanguine of his friends, 
medical or other, could not say there was hope now. But, as 
long as he could keep up, Hamish would not give in to his 
illness : he rose in the morning and made a pretence of going 
about the house : and when he was tired, lay on the sofa that 



i^io ROLAND YORKE. 

had been put into his writing-room. It was the room he felt 
most at home in, and he seemed to ding to it. 

On the other side the hearth, bending forward in his chair, 
staring at Hamish with sad eyes, sat Roland Yorke. Roland 
had abandoned his home-copying for the past two days, and 
spent all his spare time with Hamish. Mrs. Jones, snatching 
a moment to go and visit Mr. Channing for old association's 
sake, had been very much struck with what she saw in him, 
and carried home the news that he was certainly dying. 
Roland, believing Mrs. J. to be as correct in judgment as she 
was tart in speech, had been looking out for death from that 
moment. Before that he w^as given to waver ; one moment in 
despair; the next, up in the skies with the thought that re- 
covery had set in. The wind could not be more variable than 
Roland. 

It was the twilight hour of the winter's day. The room 
was not yet lighted, but the blaze from the fire played on 
Hamish's face as he lay. There was a change in it to-night, 
and it told upon Roland : for it looked like the shadow of 
death. Things seemed to have been rather at sixes-and-sevens 
in the office that afternoon : Mr. Brown was absent, Hurst 
had gone home for Christmas, Bede Greatorex did not show 
himself, and there was no one to tell Roland what work to be 
about. Of course it presented to that gentleman's mind a 
most valuable opportunity for enjoying a spell of recreation, 
and, taking French leave, he abandoned it to itself and litde 
Jenner. Rushing home in the first place, to see what might be 
doing there — for it was the day that Miss Rye had been 
captured by Butterby — Roland had his run for his pains. 
There was nothing doing, and his curiosity and good-nature 
alike suffered. Miss Rye was still a prisoner ; she, and Mrs. 
Jones, and the policeman left in charge, being shut up in the 
parlour together. " It's an awful shame of old Butterby ! " cried 
Roland to himself, as he sped along to Hamish's. There he 
took up his station in his favourite chair, and watched the face 
that was fading so rapidly. With an etherealized look in it 
that spoke of heaven, with a placid calm that seemed to 
partake of the fast approaching rest ; with a sweet smile that 
told of altogether inward peace, there the face lay; and Roland 
thought he had never seen one on earth so like an angel's. 

Hamish had dropped into a doze ; as he often did, at the 
close of day, when darkness is silently spreading over the earth. 



NEARER AND NEARER. 41 1 

Nelly Channing, who had learnt — by that subtle warning that 
sometimes steals, we know not how, over the instinct of children 
about to be made orphans — that some great and sad change 
was approaching, sat on a stool on the hearth-rug as sedately 
as any old woman. Nelly's boisterous ways and happy laugh 
had left her for a while : example perhaps taught her to be still, 
and she largely profited by it. 

On her lap lay a story-book : papa had bought it for her 
yesterday : that is, had given the money to Miss Nelly and 
nurse when they went out, and wrote down the title of the 
book they were to buy, and the shop they might get it at, with 
his own trembling fingers, out of which the strength had almost 
gone. It was one of those exquisite story-books of Mrs. Sher- 
wood's, that ought to be in all children's hands. They belong 
of course to a past day, but nothing has since been written 
like them. 

With every page that she silently turned, Nelly looked to 
see that it did not wake the invalid. When she grew tired, and 
her face was roasted to a red heat, she went to Roland, resting 
the open book upon his knee. He lifted her up. 

" It is such a pretty book, Roland." 

"All right. Don't make a noise, Nelly." 

" Margaret went to heaven in the book : she was buried 
under the great yew-tree," whispered Nelly. "Papa's going 
there." 

Roland caught the little head to him, and bent his face on 
the golden hair. He knew that what she said was true : but 
it was a shock nevertheless to have it repeated to him even by 
this young child. 

" Papa talks to me about it. It will be so beautiful ; he will 
never be tired there, or have any sorrow or pain. Oh, Roland ! 
I wish I was going wdth him ! " 

Her eyes filled with tears as she looked up ; Roland's filled 
in sympathy. He had cried like a schoolboy more than once 
of late. AH on a sudden, happening to glance across, he saw 
Haniish looking on with a smile. 

"You be off, Nelly," said arbitrary Roland, carrying her to 
the door and shutting it upon her and her book. " I'm sure 
your tea must be ready in the nursery." 

" Don't grieve, Roland," said Hamish, when he sat down again. 

" I wish you could get well," returned Roland, seeing the 
fire through a mist. 



412 ROLAND YORKE. 

'• And I have nearly ceased to wish it, Roland. It's all for 
the best." 

" Ceased to wish it ! How's that ? " 

" Through God's mercy, I think." 

The words silenced Roland. When anything of this kind 
was mentioned it turned him into a child, so far as his feelings 
went; simple as Miss Nelly was he, and a great deal more 
humble-minded 

"Things are being cleared for me so wonderfully, Roland. 
But for leaving some who are dear to me, the pain would be 
over." 

" I wish I could come across that fiend who wrote the 
reviews ! " was Roland's muttered answer to this. " I wish I 
could!" 

" What?" said Hamish, not catching the words. 

" I will say it, then ; I don't care," cried impetuous Roland 
— for no one had ever spoken before Hamish of what was 
supposed to have caused him the cruel pain. Roland blurted it 
all out now in his explosive way; his own long-suppressed 
wrath, and what he held in store for the anonymous reviewer, 
when he should have the good fortune to come across him. 

A minute's silence when he ceased, a wild hectic spreading 
itself over the hollow cheeks — that it should so stir him even 
yet ! Hamish held out his hand, and Roland came across to 
take it. The good, sweet eyes looked into his. 

" If ever you do ' come across ' him, Roland, say that I 
forgive," came the low, earnest whisper. " I did think it cruel 
at the time ; well-nigh too hard to bear ; but, like most other 
crosses, I seem to see now that it came to me direct from 
heaven." 

" That is good, Hamish ! Come ! " 

"We must through much tribulation enter into the king- 
dom," whispered Hamish, looking up at him with a yearning 
smile. "You have in all probabihty a long life before you, 
Roland : but the time may come when you will realize the 
truth of those words." 

Roland swallowed down a lump in his throat as he turned 
to the fire again. Hamish resumed, changing his tone for one 
almost of gaiety. 

" I have had good news to-day. Our friend the publisher 
called ; and what do you think he told me, Roland ? That 
my book was finding its way at last." 



I 



NEARER AND NEARER. 413 

^ Of course it will. Every one always thought it must. 
If you could only have put off for a time your bother over the 
reviews, Hamish ! " Roland added piteously. 

" Ay. He says that in three months' time from this, the 
book will be in every one's hands. In the satisfaction of the 
news, I sat down and took some luncheon with him and 
Ellen." 

" Don't you think the news might be enough to cure you ? " 
asked sanguine Roland. 

Hamish shook his head. " If I were able to feel joy now 
as I felt the sorrow, it might perhaps go a little way towards it. 
But that is over, Roland. The capacity for feeling either in 
any degree was crushed out of me." 

Roland rubbed up his hair. If he only had that enemy under 
his hand, and space for pitching into him ! 

" And now for more good news, Roland. You must know 
how I have been troubled at the thought of leaving Ellen and 
the child unprovided for " 

"I say, don't! Don't you trouble, Hamish," came the im- 
pulsive mten-uption. " I'll work for them. I'll do my very 
best for them, as well as for Annabel." 

" It won't be needed, dear old friend," and Hamish's face, 
with its bright, grateful smile, almost looked like the sunny face 
of old. "Ellen's father, Mr. Huntley, is regaining the wealth 
he feared he had lost. As an earnest of it, he has just sent 
Ellen two-hundred pounds. It was paid over to her to-day." 

" Oh, now, isn't that good, Hamish ! " 

" Very good ! " answered Hamish, reverently and softly, as 
certain words ran through his mind: "So great is His mercy 
towards them that fear Him." "And so, Roland, all things 
are working round pleasantly, that I may die in peace." 

Mrs. Channing, coming in with her walking things on, for 
she had been out on some necessary business, interrupted the 
conversation. She mentioned to Roland that she had seen 
Gerald drive up to his wife's rooms, and that he had promised 
to come round. 

" Why, I thought he was at Sunny Mead with Dick ! " 

" He told me he had just returned from it," said Mrs. Chan- 
ning. 

"I say, Hamish, who knows but he may have brought me a 
message ! " cried Roland. 

Hamish smiled. Roland had disclosed the fact in family 



4U ROLAND YORKE. 

conclave, of his having applied for the place of bailiff to Sir 
Vincent ; Annabel being present. He had recited, so far as he 
could remember them, the very words of the letter, over which 
Hamish had laughed himself into a fit of coughing. 

"To be sure," answered Hamish, with a touch of his old 
jesting spirit. "Gerald may have brought up your appo'nt- 
ment, Roland." 

That was quite enough. " I'll go and ask him," said Roland 
eagerly. "Any way, he may be able to tell me how Dick 
received it." 

Away went Roland, on the spur of the moment. It was 
a clear, cold evening, the air sharp and frosty ; and Roland, 
hurried on his way to Mrs. Gerald Yorke's. 

That lady was not in tears this evening; but her mood was 
gloomy, her face fractious. Tea was on the table, and she was 
cutting thick bread-and-butter for the three little girls sitting so 
quietly round it, before their cups of milk-and-water. Gerald 
had gone out again ; she did not know where ; whether tempo- 
rarily, or to his chambers for the night, or anything about 
him. 

" I think something must have gone wrong at Sunny Mead," 
observed Winny. " When I asked what brought him back so 
soon, he only swore at me. Perhaps Sir Vincent refused to 
lend money, and they had a quarrel. I know Gerald meant to 
ask him : he is in dreadful embarrassment." 

" Mamma," pleaded a little voice, " there's no butter on my 
bread." 

" There's as much as I can afford, Kitty," was Mrs. Yorke's 
answer. " I must keep some for the morning. Suppose your 
papa should find no butter for breakfast, if he comes home 
to-night ! My goodness ! " 

" Bread-and-scrape's not good, is it, Kitty?" said Roland. 

*' No," plaintively answered the child. 

Roland clattered out, taking the stairs at a leap. Mrs. 
Yorke supposed he had left without the ceremony of saying 
good night. 

"Just like his manners!" she cried fractiously. "But oh! 
don't I wish Gerald was like him in temper ! " 

Roland had not gone for the night. He happened to have 
a shilling in his pocket, and went off to buy a sixpenny pot of 
marmalade. As he was skimming back with it, his eye fell on 
some shrimps, exposed for sale on a fishmonger's board. With 



NEARER AND NEARER. 415 

the loose sixpence in his hand the temptation was not to be 
resisted. 

He carried in the treasures. But that the three Httle ones 
were very meek-spirited, they would have shouted at the sight. 
Roland lavishly spread the marmalade on the bread-and-scrape, 
and began pulling shrimps for the company round, while he 
talked of Hamish. 

" They are saying that those reviews that were so harsh upon 
his book, have helped to kill him," said Mrs. Yorke, in low- 
tones, turning from the table to face Roland. 

" But for those reviews he would not have died," answered 
Roland. " I never will believe it. Illness might have come 
on, but he'd have had spirit to throw it off again." 

"Yes. When I sit and look at him, Roland, it seems as if 
I and Gerald were wretches, and ought to hide ourselves. I 
say to myself, it was not my fault ; but I feel it for all that " 
"Why, what do you mean?" asked Roland. 
" About the reviews. I can't bear to go there now^" 
" What about the reviews ? " 
" It was Gerald who wrote them." 

Roland, for convenience, had put the plate of shrimps on his 
knee during the picking process. He rested from his work 
and stared in wonder. Winny continued. 

"Those reviews were all Gerald's doings. That dreadful 
one in the Snarler he wrote himself, here, and was two days 
over it, getting to it at times as ideas and strong words occurred 
to him to make it worse and worse — just as he wrote the one 
praising his own book. The other reviews, that were every 
bit as bad, he got written. I read every word of the one in the 
Snarler in manuscript. I wanted to tell him it was wicked, 
but he might have shaken me. He said he owed Hamish 
Channing a grudge, and should get his book damned. Thai's 
not my word, you know, Roland. And, all the while, it was 
Hamish who was doing so much for me and the poor children ; 
finding us food when Gerald did not." 

No winter could Hamish Channing's face look when the 
marble pallor of death should overshadow it, than Roland's 
looked now. For a short time it seemed as though the com- 
munication were too astounding for his mind to receive it. 
Suddenly he rose with a great cry. Down went shrimps, 
and plate, and all; and he was standing upright before Mrs 
Yorke. 



4i6 ROLAND YORKE. 

" Is this true ? Is it true ?" 

"Why of course it's true," she fractiously answered, for the 
movement had startled her. " Gerald did it all. I would not 
tell any one but you, Roland." 

Away dashed Roland. Panting, wild, he arrived at Mr. 
Channing's in a frantic state. Vague ideas of praying at 
Hamish's feet for forgiveness were surging through his brain — 
for it seemed to Roland that he, as Gerald's brother, must be 
in a degree responsible for this terrible thing. 

The door opened, he turned into the dining-room, and found 
himself in the presence of — Gerald. Hamish, feeling unusually 
weak, had gone up to bed, and Gerald was waiting the signal 
to go to him. As he supposed he must call to see Hamish 
before it should be too late — for Ellen had told him how it 
was, that afternoon — he had come at once to get the visit over. 

Of all the torrents of reproach ever flung at a man, Gerald 
found himself astounded by about the worst. It was not loud ; 
loudness might have carried off somewhat of the sting ; but 
painfully sad and bitter. Roland stood on the hearth-rug in 
front of Gerald as he had now stood before Gerald's wife ; with 
the same white and stricken face; with the same agitation 
shaking him from head to foot. The words broke from him 
jerkingly : the voice was wailing, 

"Was it not enough that I brought disgrace on Arthur 
Channing in the years gone by, but you, another of us ill- 
doing Yorkes, must destroy Hamish?" panted Roland. "Good 
Lord ! why did Heaven suffer us two to live ! As true as we 
are standing together here, Gerald, had I known at the time 
those false reviews were yours, I should have broken your 
bones for you." 

" You shut up," retorted Gerald. " It's nothing to you." 

"Nothing to me! Nothing to nte — when one of the best 
men that ever lived on earth has been wilfully sent to his grave? 
Yes ; I don't care how you may salve over your conscience, 
Gerald Yorke ; it is murder, and nothing less. What had he 
done to you ! He was a true friend, a true — good friend to you 
and to me : what crime against us had he committed, that you 
should treat him like this ? " 

" If you don't go out of the house, I will," said Gerald. But 
Roland never seemed to so much as hear it. 

" Who do you suppose has been helping you all this past 
year ? " demanded Roland. " When you were afraid oi the 



I 



NEARER AND NEARER. 417 

county-court over a boot-bill, somebody paid the money and 
sent you the receipt anonymously. Who has kept your wife 
and children in rent and clothes and food, and all kinds of 
comforts, while you gave wine-parties in your chambers, and 
went starring it over the seas for weeks in people's yachts ? 
Hamish Channing. He deprived himself of his holiday, that 
your wife and children might be fed, you abandoning them : 
he has lived sparingly in spite of his failing health, that you 
and yours might profit by the self-denial. You and he were 
brought up in the same place, boys together, and he could not 
see your children wanting food. They've never had a fraction 
of help but what came from Hamish and his wife." 

"It is a lie," said Gerald. But he was staggered, and he 
half felt that it was not one. 

" It is the truth, as Heaven knows," cried Roland, breaking 
down with a burst of emotion. " Ask Winny, she told me. 
I'd have given my own poor worthless life freely, to save the 
pain of those false and cruel reviews to Hamish." 

Sheer emotion stopped Roland's tongue. Mrs. Channing, 
entering, found the room in silence; the storm was over. 
Roland escaped. Gerald, amazingly uncomfortable, had a 
mind to run away there and then. 

" Will you come up, Gerald ? " she said. 

Hamish lay in bed in his large cheerful chamber, bright 
with fire and light. His head was raised ; one hand was 
tlirown over the white coverlet ; and a cup of tea waited on 
a stand by the bedside. Roland stood by the fire, his chest 
heaving. 

" But what is it, old fellow ? " demanded Hamish. " What 
has put you out ? " 

" It is this^ Hamish — that I wish I could have died instead 
of you," came the answer at last, with an outburst of grief 

He sat down in the shade of a quiet corner, for his brother's 
Step was heard. As Gerald approached the bed, he visibly 
recoiled. It was some time since he had seen Hamish, and he 
verily believed he stood in the presence of death. Hamish 
held out his hand with a smile, and his face grew bright. 

" Dear old friend ! I thought you were never coming to 
see me." 

Gerald Yorke was not wholly bad, not quite devoid of feeling. 
With the dying man before him, with the truths he had just 
heard beating their refrain in his brain, he nearly broke down 

Roland Yorke. ^ ' 



4i8 ROLAND YORKE. 

as Roland had done. Oh, that he could undo his work ! that 
he could recall life to the fading spirit as easily as he had done 
his best to take it away ! These regrets always come rather 
late, Mr. Gerald Yorke. 

" I did not think you were so ill as this, Hamish. Can 
nothing be done ? " 

" Don't let it grieve you, Gerald. Our turns must all come, 
sooner or later. Don't, old fellow," he added in a whisper. 
"I must keep up for Ellen's sake. God is helping me to do 
it : oh, so wonderfully " 

Gerald bent over him : he thought they were alone. " Will 
you forgive me ? " 

" Forgive you ! " repeated Hamish, not understanding what 
there was to forgive. 

And Gerald, striving against his miserable conscience, could 
not bring himself to say. No, though it had been to save his 
own life, he dared not confess to his cowardly sin. 

"I have not always been the good friend to you I might 
have been, Hamish. Do say you forgive me, for Heaven's 
sake!" 

Hamish took his hand, a sweet smile upon his face. " If 
there is anything for which you want my forgiveness, Gerald, 
take it. Take it freely. Oh, Gerald, when we begin to realize 
the great fact that our sins are forgiven, forgiven and washed 
out, you cannot think how glad we are to forgive others who 
may have offended us. But I don't know what I have to 
forgive in you," 

Gerald's chest heaved, Roland's, in his distant chair, rose 
rebelliously. 

" I had ambitious views for you, Gerald. I meant to do 
you good, if I could. I thought when my book was out and 
brought me funds, I would put you straight. I was so foolishly 
sanguine as to fancy the returns vrould be great. I thought of 
you nearly as much as I thought of myself : one of my dear 
old friends of dear old Helstonleigh. The world is fading from 
me, Gerald ; but the old scenes and times will be with me to 
the last. Yes, I had hoped to benefit you, Gerald, but it was 
otherwise ordained. God bless you, dear friend. God love 
and prosper you, and bring you home to Himself!" 

Gerald could stand it no longer. As he left the room and 
the house, Roland went up to the bed, and confessed all. To 
have kept in the secret would have choked him. 



GODFREY PITMAN'S TALE. 419 

Gerald was the enemy who had done it all ; Gerald Yorke 
had been the one to sow the tares amid wheat in his neigh- 
bour's field. 

A moment of exquisite pain for Hamish; a slight, short 
struggle with the human passions, not yet quite dead within his 
aching breast ; and then his loving-kindness resumed its sway, 
never again to quit him. 

" Bring him back to me, dear Roland ; bring him back that 
I may send him on his way with words of comfort," he 
whispered, with his smile of ineffable peace. 



CHAPTER XVl. 

GODFREY pitman's TALE. 



With closed doors, George Winter told his tale. Not quite 
all he could tell ; and not the truth in one very important par- 
ticular. If that single item might be kept secret to the end, 
the speaker's will was good to do it. 

They were all standing, and the room seemed filled with the 
six men in it, most of whom were tall. The crimson curtain 
that Annabel Channing had mended, was drawn before the 
bookcase : on the table-cover lay pens, ink, and paper, for Mr. 
Greatorex sometimes wrote at night in his own room. He and 
Judge Kene were near to each other; the clergyman was 
almost within the shadow of the window-curtain ; Bede a little 
further back. On the opposite side of the table, telling his 
tale, the light of the winter's day falling upon him, was George 
Winter. And before the whole assemblage, his keen eyes and 
ears silently taking in every word and look, stood Jonas 
Butterby, the detective. 

Mn Greatorex, in spite of his son Bede's protestations, had 
refused to sanction any steps for the release of Alletha Rye. 
As for Butterby, in that matter he seemed harder than granite. 
" Prove to us that the young woman is innocent before you 
talk about it," they both said with reason. And so George 
Winter was had in to relate what he knew ; and Mr. Greatorex 
— not to speak of some of the rest — felt that his senses had 



4-'0 ROLAND YORKE. 

temporarily left him when he discovered that his efficient and 
trusted clerk, Brown, was the long-sought Godfrey Pitman. 

With a brief summary of the circumstances which had led 
him, disguised, and under the name of Pitman, to Mrs. Jones's 
house at Helstonleigh, George Winter passed on to the night 
of the tragedy, and to the events which had taken him back to 
the house after his departure from it in the afternoon. If 
ever Mr. Butterby's eyes wore an eager light, it was then. Not 
the faintest turn of a look, not the smallest syllable was lost 
upon him. 

" When I had been a week at Mrs. Jones's, I began to think 
it might be unsafe to remain longer," he said ; " and I resolved 
to take my departure on the Monday. I let it transpire in the 
house that I was going to Birmingham by the five-o'clock 
train. This was to put people off the scent, for I did not mean 
to go by that train at all, but by a later one in an opposite 
direction — in fact, by the eight-o'clock train for Oxford : and I 
had thought to wait about, near the station, until that hour. 
At half-past four I said good day to Mrs. Jones, and went out : 
but I had not gone many yards from the door, when I caught 
sight of one of the Birmingham police, who knew me person- 
ally. I had on my disguise, the spectacles and the false hair, 
but I feared he might recognize me in spite of them. I turned 
round for some minutes, apparently looking into a shop 
window, and when the officer had disappeared, stole back to 
Mrs. Jones's again. The door was open, and I went upstairs 
without being seen, intending to wait there until dusk." 

" A moment, if you please," interrupted Mr. Greatorex. " It 
would seem that this was about the time that Mr. Ollivera 
returned to Mrs. Jones's. Did you see him ? " 

" I did not, sir ; I saw no one." 

" Go on." 

" I waited in my room at the top of the house, and when 
night set in, began to watch for an opportunity of getting away 
unseen by the household, and so avoid questionings as to what 
had brought me back. It seemed not too easy to accomplish. 
The servant girl was at the front-door, and Alfred Jones came 
in and began to ascend the stairs. When half-way up, he 
turned back with some gentleman who came out of the 
drawing-room — whom I know now, but did not know then, to 
be Mr. Bede Greatorex. Alfred Jones saw him to the front- 
door, and then ran up again. I escaped to my room, and 



GODFREY PITMAN'S TALE. 421 

locked myself in. He went to his own room, and soon I 
heard him go down and quit the house. In a few minutes I 
went out of my room again with my blue bag, ready for 
departure, and stood on the stairs to reconnoitre " 

*' Can you explain the cause of those grease spots that we 
have heard of?" interrupted Bede Greatorex at this juncture. 
And it might almost have seemed from the emotion of his 
tone, which could not be wholly suppressed, that he dreaded 
the revelation he knew must be coming, and put the question 
only to delay it. 

" Yes, sir. While Alfred Jones was in his room, I dropped 
my silver pencil-case, and had to light a candle to find it. I 
suppose that, in searching, I must have held the candle aside 
and let the tallow fall on the carpet." 

"Go on," again interposed Mr. Greatorex, impatiently. 
" You went out on the stairs with your bag. What next ? " 

The witness — if he may be so termed — passed his hand 
slowly over his forehead before answering. It appeared as 
though he were recalling the past. 

" As I stood there, the top of the first flight, the sound of 
voices in what seemed angry dispute, came from the drawing- 
room. One in particular was raised in passionate fury ; the 
other was less loud. I did not hear what was said ; the door 
was shut " 

" Were they both men's voices ? " interrupted Air. Ollivera — 
and it was the first question he had put. 

"Yes," came the answer; but it was given in a low tone, 
and with hesitation. " At least, I think so." 

" Well." 

" The next thing that I heard was the report of a pistol, 
followed by a cry of pain. Another cry succeeded to it in a 
different voice ; a cry of horror ; and then silence ensued. 

" And you did not go in ? " exclaimed Mr. Ollivera in agita- 
tion, taking a step forward. 

" No. I am aware that I ought to have done so ; and I 
have reproached myself later for not having done so ; but I 
felt afraid to disclose to any one that I was still in the house. 
It might have led to the discovery of who and what I was. 
Besides, I thought there was no great harm done ; I declare it, 
upon my honour. I could still hear sounds within the room 
as of some one moving about, and I certainly heard one voice 
speaking low and softly. I thought I saw my opportunity for 



422 ROLAND YORKE. 

slipping away, and had crept down almost to the drawing-room 
door, when it suddenly opened, very quietly, and a face looked 
out. Whoever it might be, I suppose the sight of me scared 
them, for they retreated, and the door was softly reclosed. It 
scared me also, sending me upstairs again ; and I remained up 
there until the same person (as I supposed) came out again, 
descended the stairs, and left the house. I got out myself 
then, gained the railway station by a circuitous route^ and 
escaped safely from Helstonleigh." 

As the words died upon the ear, a silence ensued. The 
clergyman broke it. His mind seemed to be harping on one 
string, 

" Mr. Brown, was that person a man or a woman ? " 

" Oh, it was a man," answered Mr. Brown, looking down at 
his waistcoat^ and brushing a speck off it with a careless air. 
But something in his demeanour at that moment struck two 
people in the room as being peculiar — Judge Kene and Mr. 
Butterby, 

" Should you recognize him again ? " continued the clergy- 
man. 

" I cannot say. Perhaps I might." 

"And you can stand there, Mr. Brown, and deliberately 
avow that you did not know a murder had been committed ? " 
interposed the sternly condemning voice of Mr. Greatorex. 

" On my sacred word of honour, I declare to you, sir, that 
no suspicion of it at the time occurred to me," answered the 
clerk, turning his eyes with fearless honesty on Mr. Greatorex. 
" When I learned what had really happened — which was not 
for some weeks after — I wondered at myself. All I could 
suppose was, that the fear and apprehension I lay under on 
my own score had rendered me callous to other im- 
pressions." 

" Was it you who went in, close upon the departing heels of 
Mr. Bede Greatorex, and did this cruel thing ? " asked Judge 
Kene, with a quiet emphasis, as he gazed in the face of the 
narrator. 

" No," as quietly, and certainly as calmly, came the answer. 
" I had no cause to injure Mr. Ollivera. I never saw him in 
my life. I am not sure that I knew there was a barrister of 
that name. I don't think I ever heard of him until after he 
was in the gi'ave where he is now lying." 

^' But — you_ must have known that Mr. Ollivera was so- 



GODFREY PITMAN'S TALE. 423 

journing at Mrs. Jones's at the same time that you were 
there?" 

" I beg your pardon, Sir Thomas ; I did not know that any 
one was lodging there except myself. Miss Rye, whom I saw 
for a few minutes occasionally, never mentioned it ; neither 
did the servant ; and they were the only two inmates I con- 
versed with. For all I knew or thought, Mrs. Jones occupied . 
the drawing-room herself. I once saw her sitting there, and 
the maid was carrying out the tea-tray. No," emphatically con- 
cluded the speaker, " I did not know Mr. Ollivera was in the 
house : and if I had known it, I should not have sought to 
harm him." 

The words were simple enough , and they were true. Judge 
Kene, skilled in reading tones and looks, saw so much. The 
party felt nonplussed. As far as AUetha Rye was concerned, 
taking her into custody appeared to have been a mistake. 

'' You will swear to this testimony of yours, Mr. — Winter ? " 

"Whenever you please. The slight facts — the sounds — 
that reached me in regard to what took place in Mr. Ollivera's 
room, I have related truthfully. Far from Miss Rye's having 
had anything to do with it, she was not even in the house at 
the time : I affirm it as before Heaven." 

" Who was the man?" asked Judge Kene — and Mr. Butter- 
by, as he heard the question, uttered a derisive sound. " Tell 
us that, Mr. Winter." 

" I cannot tell you," was George Winter's answer " Who- 
ever it was, went down the stairs quickly. I was looking over 
the top balustrades then, and caught only a moment's glimpse 
of him." 

"But you had already seen his face — when he looked out of 
the room ? " 

" I saw some one's face. Only for a moment. Had I 
known what was to come of it later, I might have noticed 
better." 

" And this is all you have to tell us ? " cried Henry William 
Ollivera, in agitation. 

" Indeed it is all. But it is sufficient to exonerate Miss 
Rye." 

"And now, Bede, what do_>'^// know?" suddenly spoke Mr, 
Greatorex. " You have acknowledged to me that you sus- 
pected at the time it was not a case of suicide." 

5ede Greatorex came forward. All eyes were turned upon 



424 ROLAND YORKE. 

him. That he was nerving himself to speak, and was far more 
agitated than appeared on the surface, the two practised ob- 
servers saw. Judge Kene looked at him critically and 
curiously : there was something in the case altogether, and in 
Bede himself, that puzzled him. 

" It is not much that I have to tell," began Bede, in answer 
to his father, as he put his hand heavily on the table, it might 
be for support : and his brow seemed to take a deathly hue, 
and the silver threads in his once beautiful hair were very con- 
spicuous as he stood. " A circumstance caused me to suspect 
that it was not a case of suicide. In fact, that it was some- 
what as Mr. Brown has described it — namely, that some one 
else caused the death." 

A moment of perfect silence. It seemed to Bede that the 
very coals, crackling in the grate, sounded like thunder. 

" What was the circumstance ? " asked Mr. Greatorex, for 
no one else liked to interrupt. " Why did you not speak of it 
at the time?" 

"I could not speak of it then: I cannot speak of it fully 

now. It was of a nature so — so — so " Bede came to a 

full stop. Was he growing too agitated to speak, or could he 
not find a word ? " What I would say is," he continued, in a 
firmer tone, rallying his powers, " that it was sufficient to show 
me that the facts must have been very much as Mr. Brown now 
states them." 

" Then you only f/iink that, Bede ? " 

" It is more than thinking. By all my hopes of heaven, I 
declare that Alletha Rye had not, and could not have had, 
anything to do with John's death," he added with emotion. 
" Father, you may believe me : I do know as much as that." 

" But why can you not disclose what it is you know ?" 

" Because the time has not come for it. William, you are 
looking at me reproachfully : if I could tell you more I would. 
The secret — so much as I know of it — has lain on me with a 
leaden weight : I would only have been too glad to unburthen 
myself of it at first, had it been possible." 

"And what rendered it impossible ?" questioned the clergy- 
man. 

" That which renders it so now. I may not 'speak. If 
I might, I should be far more thankful than any one of you 
who hear me." 

*' Is it a trust reposed in you ? " 



GODFREY PITMAN'S TALE. 425 

Bede paused. " Well, yes ; in a degree it is. If I were to 
speak of what I know, I do not think there is one present " — ■ 
and Bede's glance ran rapidly over each individual face — " but 
would hush it within his own breast, as I have done." 

" And you have a suspicion of who the traitor was ? " 

" A suspicion I may have. But for aught else — for eluci- 
dation — you and I must be content alike to wait." 

" Elucidation ! " spoke the clergyman, in something like 
derision. It will not, I presume, ever be allowed to come to 
that." 

"Yes, it will, William," answered Bede, quietly. " Time — 
events — Heaven — all are working rapidly on for it. Alletha 
Rye is innocent ; I should not affirm that^ truth to you more 
solemnly if I were dying. She must be set at liberty." 

As it was only on the question of her guilt or innocence that 
the council had been called, it seemed that there was nothing 
more to be done but to break it up. An uncomfortable 
feeling of doubt, dissatisfaction, and mystery, lay on all. The 
clergyman stalked away in haughty displeasure. Bede Greato- 
rex, under cover of the break-up, slid his hand gratefully for 
a moment into that of George Winter, his sad eyes sending 
forth their thanks. Then he turned to the judge. 

"You can give the necessary authority for the release, Sir 
Thomas." 

" Can I ? " was the answer, as Sir Thomas looked at him. 
" I'll talk about it with Butterby. But I should like first to have 
a private word with Mr. Winter." 

" Why ! you do not doubt that she is innocent ? " 

" Oh, dear no ; I no longer doubt that. Winter," he added, 
in a whisper, laying his hand on the clerk's shoulder to draw 
him outside, " whose face was it that you saw at the door of the 
room ? " 

" Tell him," said Bede, suddenly, for he had followed 
them. "You will keep the secret, Kene, as I have kept 
it?" 

" If it be as I suspect, I 7vill," emphatically replied the 
judge. 

" Tell him," repeated Bede, as he walked away. " Tell him 
all that you know, Winter, from first to last." 

It caused Mr. Greatorex and Butterby to be left alone 
together. The former, not much more pleased than William 
OlUvera, utterly puzzled, hurt at the want of confidence 



426 ROLAND YORKE. 

displayed by Bede in not trusting him, was in a downright 
ill-temper. 

" What the devil is all this, Butterby ? " demanded he. 
" What does it mean ? " 

Mr. Butterby, cool as a cucumber, let his eyelashes droop for 
a moment over his impenetrable eyes, and then answered in 
mild simplicity. 

" Ah, that's just it, sir — what it means. Wait, says your son 
Mr. Bede ; wait patiently till things have worked round a bit, 
till such time as I can speak out. And depend upon it, Mr, 
Greatorex, he has good reason for the advice." 

" But what can it be that he has to tell ? And why should 
he wait at all to tell it ? " 

" Well, I suppose he'd like to be more certain of the party," 
answered Butterby, with a dubious cough. " Take a word of 
advice from me, too, Mr. Greatorex, on this score, if I may 
make bold to offer it — do wait. Don't force your son to disclose 
things afore they are ripe. It might be better for all parties." 

Mr. Greatorex looked at him, *' Who is it that you 
suspect? " 

" Me ! " exclaimed Butterby. " Me suspect ! Why, what 
with one odd thought and another, I'd as lieve say it must 
have been the man in the moon, for all the clue we've got. It 
was not Miss Rye : there can't be two opinions about that. I 
told you, sir, I had my doubts when you ordered her to be 
apprehended." 

"At any rate, you said she confessed to having done it," 
sharply spoke Mr. Greatorex, vexed with every one. 

" Confound the foolish women ! what would the best of 'em 
not confess to, to screen a sweetheart ? AUetha Rye has been 
thinking Winter guilty all this time, and when it came to close 
quarters and there seemed a fear that he'd be taken up for it, 
she said what she did to save him. / see it all. I saw it afore 
Godfrey Pitman was half-way through his tale : and matters 
that have staggered me in Miss Rye are just as clear to me 
now as the print in a book. When she made that display at 
the grave — which you've heard enough of, may be, Mr. Greato- 
rex — she had not had her doubts turned on Godfrey Pitman ; 
she'd thought he was safe away earlier in the afternoon. When 
she learned he had come back again in secret, and was in the 
house at the time, why then she jumped to the conclusion that 
he had done the murder, /remember," 



A TELEGRAM FOR ROLAND YORKE. 427 

Mr. Butterby was right. This was exactly how it had been. 
AUetha Rye had deemed George Winter guilty all along ; on 
his side, he had only supposed that she shunned him on account 
of the affair at Birmingham. There had been mutual mis- 
understanding; shrinking avoidance of all explanation; and not 
a single word of confidence to clear it all up. George Winter 
could not attempt to be too explicit so long as the secret he 
was guarding had to be kept. If not for his own sake, for that 
of others he was silent. 

"As to what Bede's driving at, and who he suspects, I am in 
ignorance," resumed Mr. Greatorex. " I am not pleased with 
his conduct : he ought to let me know what he knows."' 

" Now, don't you blame him afore you hear his reasons, sir. 
He's sure to have 'em : and I say let him alone till he can take 
his own time for disclosing things." Which won't be for one 
while, was the detective's mental conclusion. 

" About Miss Rye ? Are you here, Butterby ? " 

The interruption came from Judge Kene. As he walked in, 
closing the door after him, they could only be struck with the 
aspect of his face. It was grey and troubled : very much as 
though its owner had received some terrible shock. 

" What is the matter, judge ? " hastily asked Mr. Greatorex. 
" Are you ill ? " 

" 111 ? No. Why do you ask ? Look so ? Oh, I have been 
standing in a room without fire and grew rather cold there," 
carelessly replied the judge. 



CHAPTER XVIL 

A TELEGRAM FOR ROLAND VORKE. 

Lounging back in the old horsehair elbow-chair, his feet 
stretched out on the hob on either side the fire, an elegant 
position he had possibly learnt at Port Natal, was Mr. Roland 
Yorke. He had just come home to his five-o'clock tea, and took 
the occasion to indulge in sundry reminiscences whilst waiting 
for it. Christmas had passed, these two or three days now ; 
the short holiday was over, and working days had begun 
again. 



428 ROLAND YORKE. 

Roland's mood was subdued. All things seemed to be more 
or less tinged with gloom. Hamish Channing was dying ; a 
summons had been sent to his friends ; the last hour could not 
now be very far off: and Roland felt it deeply. The ill worked 
by his brother Gerald seemed never out of his mind for a 
moment, sleeping or waking. Vexation of a different sort was 
also his. Day after day in his sanguine temperament he had 
looked for a letter from Sir Vincent Yorke, giving him the post 
of bailiff; and no such letter came. Roland, who had heard 
nothing of the slight accident caused by Gerald (you may be 
very sure Gerald would not be the one to speak of it), supposed 
the baronet was in Paris with Miss Trehern. A third source 
of discomfort lay in the office. Bede Greatorex, whose health 
in the past few days had signally failed, avowed himself at last 
unequal to work, and an extra amount of it fell upon his clerks. 
Roland thought it a sin and a shame that before Christmas-Day 
had well turned, he should have, as he phrased it, to "stick to 
it like a dray-horse." A rumour had arisen in the office that 
Bede Greatorex was going away with his wife for change and 
restoration, and that Mr. Brown was to be head of the depart- 
ment in Bede's place. Roland did not view the prospect with 
pleasure. Mr. Brown was a regular martinet in regard to 
keeping the clerks up to their duty. 

The grievance lying uppermost on his mind this evening 
was the silence of Sir Vincent. For Hamish he had grieved 
until it seemed that he could grieve no longer ; the rumoured 
change in the office might never be carried out : but on the 
score of Sir Vincent's neglect there was no excuse. 

" I wouldn't treat him so," grumbled Roland, his grievance 
striving to find relief in words. " Even if the place was gone 
when I applied, or he thought I shouldn't suit, he might write 
to me. It's all very fine for him, kicking up his heels in Paris, 
and dining magnificently in the choice restaurants, to forget a 
fellow as he forgets me : but if his whole hope in life lay on the 
stake, he'd remember, I know. If I knew his address over 
there, I'd drop him another letter and tell him to put me out 
of suspense. For all the answer that has come, one might think 
he had never had that first letter of mine. He has had it 
though, and it's a regular shame not to acknowledge it, when 
my heart was set on being able to carry Hamish the cheering 
news, before he died, that Annabel was provided for. It 
wouldn't be much for Dick to give us a cottage and two- 



A TELEGRAM FOR ROLAND YORKE. 429 

hundred a year, and I'd serve him bravely for it day and night. 
I declare I go into Hamish's room as sheep-faced as a calf, 

with the shame of having no news to tell him. Annabel 

Oh, it's you. Miss Rye ! Precious cold to-night ! " 

INIiss Rye had come in with the tea-tray : the servant was 
busy. She wore a knot of blue ribbon in her hair, and looked 
unusually bright. After a private interview held with Mr. 
Butterbyand George Winter, when they returned to release her, 
she had appeared quite a different woman. Her whole aspect 
was changed : the sad, despairing fear on her face had given 
place to a look of rest and hope. Roland had taken occasion 
to give Mr. Butterby a taste of what that gentleman called 
" sauce," as to his inveterate propensity for apprehending the 
wrong person, and was advised in return to mind his own 
business. Whilst Mrs. Jones had since been existing in a 
chronic state of tartness ; for she could not come to the bottom 
of things, and Alletha betrayed anything but a readiness to 
enlighten her. 

" What's for' tea ? " asked Roland, lazily, turning his gaze upon 
the tray. 

" A boiled egg," replied Miss Rye. " There was nothing else 
in the house. Have you seen your letter, Mr. Yorke ? " 

"A letter!" exclaimed Roland, starting up with so much 
impulse as to throw down a chair, for his hopes suddenly 
turned to the expected communication from Sir Vincent. 
Where is it ? When did it come ? Good old Dick ! " 

It had come just as he went out after dinner, she answered, 
as she took the letter from the mantel-piece to hand to him. 
It bore a foreign post-mark, and Roland's spirits went down to 
zero as he tore it open, for he recognized the writing to be, not 
Dick Yorke's, but Lord Carrick's. 

" Oh, come though, it's rather good," said he, running his 
eyes down the plain and sprawling hand — very much like his 
own. " Carrick has come out of his troubles ; at least, enough 
to show himself in daylight again in the old country. He will 
be over in London directly. I say. Miss Rye, 111 bring him 
here, and introduce him to you and Mrs. J." 

And Miss Rye laughed as she left the room more freely than 
she had laughed for many a day. 

" Perhaps Carrick can put me into something ! " soliloquized 
Roland, chopping off the top of his egg. " I know he'll not 
want the will when I tell him about Annabel." 



430 ROLAND YORKE. 

And Roland finished his bread-and-butter, and was on the 
point of demanding a further supply, when he heard some one 
come to the house and inquire for Mr. Yorke. Visions of 
Lord Carrick's arrival flashed over him ; he dashed in to the 
passage, and very nearly threw down a meek little gentleman, 
who was being shown into his room. 

" Holloa ! " said Roland, in extreme disappointment. " Is it 
only you ? " 

For the visitor was nobody but little Jenner. He had 
brought a communication from Mr. Greatorex, and took off his 
hat while he delivered it. 

" You are to go back with me to the office at once, if you 
please, Mr. Yorke. Mr. Greatorex wants you." 

" What have I done now ? " questioned Roland, anticipating 
a reprimand. 

" It is not for anything of that sort, sir. I believe Sir 
Vincent Yorke has telegraphed for you to go down to him at 
Sunny Mead. The despatch said you were to lose no 
time." 

Whether Roland leaped highest or shouted loudest, the 
startled house could not have decided. The bailiff's post was, 
in his imagination, as surely his, as though he had been 
formally installed in it. To wash his hands, brush his hair, 
and put on his best coat, took but a minute, and he was 
striding to the office, little Jenner by his side, to the presence 
of Mr. Greatorex. 

The lawyer received him calmly, and showed the message 
from Surrey. 

" Sir Vincent Yorke to Mr. Greatorex. 
"Send Roland Yorke down to me by first train. Lose no 
time." 

" Good old Dick ! " repeated Roland, in the fulness of his 
heart. " I thought he'd remember me ! And there was I 
reproaching him like an ungrateful tom-cat ! It is to give me 
the bailiff's place, Mr. Greatorex." 

" Well — it may be," mused Mr. Greatorex. " But I had 
fancied that post was filled up." 

" Not it, sir. Long live Dick ! When did he come back 
from Paris ? " 

" I know nothing about Sir Vincent's recent movements, 



A tELEGRAM FOR ROLAND YORKE. 43! 

Mr. Yorke. You had better be making yours to the Waterloo 
Station. Have you money for the journey ? " 

"I've about sevenpence-halfpenny, sir." 

Mr. Greatorex took a half-sovereign from his desk, and ten 
shillings in silver. " I don't know how often the trains run," 
he observed, " but if you go at once to the station, you will be 
all right for the first that starts." 

Not to the station, let it star', as soon as it might, without 
first seeing Annabel, and telling her of his good fortune. 
Away up the stairs went Roland, in search of her, leaping over 
some boxes that stood packed in the hall : and there he 
encountered Mr. Bede Greatorex. It was four whole days 
since Roland had met him, and he thought he had never seen 
a face so changed in the short space of time. Annabel was 
not at home, Bede said ; she had gone to Mr. Channing's. 

" You don't look well, sir." 

" Not very, I believe. I am about to try what a month or 
two's absence will do for me." 

" And leave us to old Brown ! — that ivill be a nice go ! " 
exclaimed Roland, in dismay. " But I may not have to stay 
here," he added more brightly, as recollection returned to 
him. " Vincent Yorke has telegraphed for me, sir, and I and 
Mr. Greatorex think that he is about to appoint me his bailiff." 

A smile crossed Bede's haggard face. " I wish you success 
in it," he said kindl}'. 

"Thank you, sir. And I'm sure I wish you and Mrs. 
Greatorex heaps of pleasure, and I heartily hope you'll come 
home strong again. Oh ! and, Mr. Bede — Carrick's coming 
back." 

Bede nodded in answer. Greatorex and Greatorex knew 
more of the matter than Roland, since it was they who had 
intimated to the peer that the coast was now sufficiently clear 
for him. 

Roland leaped into a cab, and was taken to iSlr. Channing's. 
He waited in the empty dining-room ; and when Annabel 
came to him, told her hurriedly of what had happened. The 
cab was waiting at the door, Roland was eager, and her pale 
cheeks grew rosy with blushes as he talked and held her 
hands. 

" It can't be for anything else, you know, Annabel. He is 
going to instal me off-hand for certain, or else he would have 
written and not telegraphed : perhaps the new bailiff (if he 



432 ROLAND YORKE. 

did appoint one) has turned out no good. There'll be a pretty 
cottage, I dare say, its walls all covered with roses and lilies, 
and two-hundred a year; and we shall be as happy as the 
day's long. You'll not mind trying it, will you ? " 

No, Annabel whispered, the cheeks deepening to crimson ; 
she would not mind trying it. " I think — Roland," she added, 
bending down her pretty face, " that I might have a pupil if I 
liked ; and be well paid for her." 

" That's jolly," said Roland. " We might do, with that, if 
Dick only offered me one-hundred. He is uncommonly close- 
fisted. There'd be a house free, and no end of fruit and 
garden-stuff; and living in the country is very cheap." 

" It is Jane Greatorex." 

"Oh s/ie," cried Roland, his countenance falling. "She is 
a regular little toad, Annabel. I shouldn't like you to be 
bothered with her." 

"She would be always good with me. Mr. and Mrs. Bede 
are going away, and Mr. Greatorex does not want us there any 
longer. He said a few words to me to-day about my returning 
home to mamma at Helstonleigh and taking Jane with me : 
that is, if mamma has no objection. He said he would like 
Jane to be with me better than with any one ; and he would 
make it worth my while in point of salary." 

" Then, Annabel, if you don't object to the young monkey, 
that's settled, and I shall look upon it that we are as good as 
married. What a turn in fortune's wheel ! Won't I serve 
Dick with my best blood and sinew ! I'll work for him till my 
arms drop off. I say ! couldn't I just see Hamish ? I should 
like to tell him." 

He ran softly up the stairs as he spoke. Hamish was in 
bed ; and just now alone, except for Miss Nelly, who had 
rolled herself on to the counterpane like a ball, her cheek 
close to his. Roland whispered all the items of good news : it 
never occurred to him to think that they might turn out to be 
castles in the air. A smile, partaking somewhat of the old 
amused character, flitted across Hamish's wasted but still 
beautiful face, and sat in his blue eyes as he listened. 

" You'll leave Annabel especially to me, won't you, Hamish ; 
and wish us both joy and happiness ? " 

" I wish you both the best I can wish, Roland — God's 
blessing," was the low, earnest answer. " His blessing in this 
life, and in that to come." 



A TELEGRAM FOR ROLAND YORKE. 433 

Roland bent his face down to Nelly's to hide its emotion, 
and began kissing her. His grief for Hamish Channing some- 
times showed itself like any girl's. 

" I have left you her guardian, Roland." 

" Me ! " exclaimed Roland, surprise sending him bolt 
upright. 

" You and Arthur jointly. You will take care of her interests, 
I know." 

" Oh, Hamish, how good of you ! Nelly's guardian ! JVon'f 
I take care of her ! and love her, too. I'll buy her sixpenny- 
worth of best sugared almonds every day." 

Hamish smiled. "Not her personal guardian, Roland; her 
mother will be that. I meant as to her property." 

" Never mind ; it's all one. Thank you, Hamish, for your 
trust in me ! Oh, I am proud ! And mind that you are a 
good girl, Miss Nelly, now that I shall have the right to call 
you to order." 

Roland did not quite seem to define the future duties in his 
own mind. Nelly raised her tear-stained face, and looked at 
him defiantly. 

" I'm going away with papa." 

" Not with him, my child," whispered Hamish. " You must 
stay here a little while first. You and mamma will come later." 

Nelly burst into sobs. " Heaven is better than this. I want 
to go there." 

" We shall all get there in time, Nelly," observed Roland, in 
much gloom, "but I wish I could have gone now in his stead. 
Oh, Hamish, I do ! I do indeed ! Gerald's black work will 
never be out of my heart And there's your book getting its 
laurels at last, and you not living to wear them ! " 

The gentle face, bright with a light not of this world, was 
turned to Roland. "A better crown is waiting for me," he 
murmured. "My Lord and Master knows how thankfully I 
shall go to it." 

A sound outside as of an impatient cab-horse in the frosty 
street, reminded Roland that he was bound on a mission that 
must not be delayed. On the stairs he met Annabel, caught 
hold of her without ceremony, and gave her shrinking face a 
few farewell kisses. 

" Good-bye, darling. When I come back it will be as bailiff 
of Sunny Mead." 

Roland's delay had been just enough to cause him to miss 

Roland Yorke. 28 



434 ROLAND YORKE. 

a train, and the evening had gone on considerably when he was 
at length deposited at the small station near Sunny Mead. 
Looking up and down the road in the cold moonlight, un- 
certain which was his way, he found himself accosted by a 
groom. 

" I beg pardon, sir : are you Mr. Yorke." 

" Yes." 

*' I have the dog-cart here, sir." 

" Oh, have you ? " returned Roland. " I thought Sunny 
Mead was close to the station." 

"It's a matter of ten-minutes' walk, sir; but they gave me 
orders to be down, and wait for every train until you came." 

" How long has Sir Vincent been back from Paris ? " ques- 
tioned Roland, as they bowled along. 

" From Paris, sir? He haven't been to it : not lately. The 
accident stopped his going." 

"What accident?" 

Ah ! what accident ! Roland's eyes opened to their utmost 
width as he hstened to the answer. 

" Good Heavens ! And it was caused, you say, by Gerald 
Yorke ? " 

" That it was, sir." 

" Why, he's my brother.' 

"Well, sir, accidents happen unintentional to the best of 
us," observed the man, wishing to be polite. " Some of 'em 
said that the gentleman didn't show himself 'cute at handling 
of a gun." 

" I don't believe he ever handled one in his life before," 
avowed impulsive Roland. " What a fool he must have been ! 
How is Sir Vincent going on? I'm sure I hope it was no great 
damage." 

"Sir Vincent was going on all right till to-day^ sir; and 
as to the damage, it was not thought to be much. We hear 
now that it has taken a turn for the worse. They talk of 
erysipelas." 

" Oh, that's nothing," said Roland. " I knew a fellow who 
got erysipelas in the face at Port Natal until his head was as 
big as a pumpkin, but he did his work all the same. That's 
it," he mentally decided, as they approached the house. "Poor 
Dick, confined indoors, can't look after things himself, and is 
going to put me to do it." 

Upon a flat bed, or couch, in the lower room where we saw 



J 



A TELEGRAM FOR ROLAND YORKE. 43$ 

him breakfasting with Gerald, lay Sir Vincent Yorke, his dog 
beside him. He held out his hand to greet Roland. Impul- 
sively and rather loudly, that unsophisticated African traveller 
expressed his regrets on the score of the accident, and more 
especially that it should have been caused by Gerald. 

"Ay, it was a bad job," said Sir Vincent, quietly. "Sit 
down, Roland. Here, near to me. I am in a good bit of pain, 
and don't care to talk at a distance." 

Roland took the chair pointed to, not a yard off Sir Vincent 
as he lay, and the two looked at each other. A sort of honest 
shame was on Roland's face : he was inwardly asking himself 
how much more disgrace Gerald meant to bring on him. The 
lamp, a soft, thin perforated shade subduing its glare, was 
behind the invalid. 

" I hope you'll soon be about again, Vincent." 

"I hoped so, too, until this morning," was Sir Vincent's 
answer. " My leg was very uneasy all last night, and I sent at 
daybreak for the surgeon. He came, and was obliged to tell 
me that an unfavourable change had taken place : in fact, that 
dangerous symptoms had set in." 

" But you can be cured ? " cried Roland. 

" No, not now." 

" Not be cured ! " exclaimed Roland, starting up with wild 
eyes, and hardly knowing what to understand. " Do you mean, 
that it will be long first ? " 

"I mean, that I shall never be cured at all in this world. 
Sit down, Roland, and listen quietly. The wound, regarded 
at first as a very simple one, and apparently continuing to pro* 
gress well, has taken a turn for the worse ; and must shortlv 
end in death. Now, do be tranquil, old fellow, and listen. 
You are my heir, you know, Roland." 

Roland, constrained to patience and his chair, stared, and 
pulled at his whiskers, and stared again. 

"Your heir?" 

" Certainly. My heir." 

The contingency had never, in the whole course of his life, ' 
entered into the imagination of simple Roland. He sat in 
speechless bewilderment. 

" The moment the breath goes out of this poor frail body — 
and the doctors tell me it will not be many more hours in it 
now — you will be Sir Roland Yorke. The fourth baronet, and 
possessor of the Yorke estates — such as they are." 



436 ROLAND YORKE. 

" Oh, my gracious ! " uttered Roland, a great deal more 
startled at the prospect than he had been at that of embarking 
in hot pies in Poplar. " Do you mean it, Vincent? " 

^^Mean it ! Where have your wits gone, that you need ask? 
You must know as well as I do that you come next in succes- 
sion." 

" I never thought of it ; never once. I don't want it, Vin- 
cent, old fellow ; I don't, indeed. I hope, with all my heart, 
you'll get well, and hold it for yourself. Oh, Dick, I hope you 
will ! " 

Roland had risen and caught the outstretched hand. As Sir 
Vincent heard the earnest tones, and saw the face of genuine 
concern shining forth in all its guileless simplicity, the tears in 
the honest eyes, he came to the conclusion that Roland had 
been somewhat depreciated among them. 

"Nothing can save me, Roland; the doctors have pro- 
nounced me to be past all human skill, and I feel myself that 
I am so. It has not been long, one day, to ' set my house in 
order,' has it?" 

Amidst Roland's general confusion, nothing had struck him 
more than the change in Vincent's tone. The old, mincing 
affectation was utterly gone. A man cannot retain such when 
brought face to face with death. 

"If you could only get well !" repeated poor Roland, rubbing 
his hot face as he went back to his chair. 

"Doctors, lawyers, and parsons — I have had them all here 
to-day," resumed Sir Vincent. " The first man I sent for, after 
the fiat was pronounced, was a law7er from the village hard 
by : there might not be time, I feared, to get down old Greato- 
rex. He made a short will for me : and it was only when I 
began to consider what its provisions should be, that I (so to 
say) remembered you as my heir and successor." 

Roland sat, hopelessly listening, unable to take in too much 
at once. 

"The entailed property lapses to you; but there. is some, 
personal and else, at my own disposal. With the exception of 
a few legacies, I have bequeathed it all to you, Roland — and 
you'll be poor enough : and I've appointed you sole executor. 
But I think you'll make a better man, as the head of the family, 
than I might have made in the long-run ; and I am truly glad 
that it is you to succeed, and not Gerald." 

Roland gave a groan. 



A TELEGRAM FOR ROLAND YORKE. 437 

" I allude to his disposition, which I don't think great things 
of, and to his propensity for spending," continued Sir Vincent, 
"Gerald would have every acre of the estate mortgaged in 
a couple of years : I think you will be different. Don't live 
beyond your means, Roland ; that's all." 

" I'll try to do my very best by every one," replied Roland. 
"As to living beyond my means, Annabel will see to that, 
and take care of me. Dick ! Dick ! it seems so wicked of me 
to talk coolly of it, as if I were speculating on your death. I 
wish you'd try and live ! I don't want the estate and the 
money ; I never thought of such a thing as coming in to it. I 
rushed down here to-night, hoping you were going to make 
me your bailiff; and I thought how well I'd try to serve you, 
and what a good fellow you were for doing it." 

"Ah," was the dying man's slight comment, as he drew 
himself a little higher in the bed. "You will be master in- 
stead of bailiff; that's all the difference. I had just engaged 
a bailiff when you wrote : and I would advise you to keep 
him on, Roland, unless you really feel competent to manage 
yourself" 

" I'll keep him on until I've learnt it ; that won't be long 
first. I must have something to employ my time, Vincent." 

"True : I wish I had had it. An idle man must, almost of 
necessi-ty, glide into various kinds of mischief: of which debt 
is one." 

"You need not fear debt for me, Vincent," was the earnest 
answer. " I have lived too long on empty pockets, and 
earned a crust before I ate it, to have ill ways for money or 
inclination to spend. Why, my best dress suit has been in 
pawn these two months : and old Greatorex had to advance 
me twenty shillings to bring me down here." 

Something like a smile flitted over Sir Vincent's lips. He 
pointed to a desk that stood on a side-table. 

" When I am gone, Roland, you can open that : there's a 
little loose cash in it. It will be enough to repay Greatorex 
and redeem your clothes." 

" But I shouldn't like to take it, Vincent, thank you. 
Shouldn't indeed." 

"Why, man ! it will be your own then." 

" Oh, well — I never ! " cried Roland, softly : quite unable to 
realize his fast-approaching position. 

"The danger to some people might lie in being thus 



438 ROLAND YORKE. 

suddenly raised from poverty to affluence," remarked Sir 
Vincent. " It has shipwrecked many a one." 

" Don't fear for me, or for the estate either, Vincent. Had 
this happened some seven or eight years ago, when I was a 
lazy, conceited, ignorant young fool, almost as stuck-up as 
Gerald, I can't say how it might have been. But I went to 
Port Natal, you know ; and I gained my life's lesson there. 
Hamish Channing has left me guardian to Nelly. I can guess 
why he did it, too — that the world may see he thinks me 
worthy to be trusted at last. He had always the most deli- 
cately generous heart in Christendom." 

" Hamish and I 1 " murmured Sir Vincent, in self-com- 
munion, *' on the wing almost together." 

Yes, it was so. And Roland, with all his lamentation, could 
not alter the fiat. 

" What was the lesson you learnt at Port Natal ? " 

" Not to be a reckless spendthrift ; not to be idle and use- 
less. Vincent," added Roland, bending his face forward in its 
earnestness, and dropping his voice until it was scarcely above 
a whisper : " I learnt in Port Natal that there was another 
world to live for after this : I learnt that our time was not our 
own to waste in sin, but God's time, given us to use for the 
best. A chum of mine out there, named Bartle, was struck 
down by an accident ; the doctor said he wouldn't live the day 
out — and he didn't. It was a caution to hear his moans and 
groans, Vincent. He had not been very bad, as far as I knew, 
in the ways that the world calls bad ; he had only been care- 
less and idle, and wasted his days, and never thought of what 
was to come after. I wish every one that's the same had seen 
him die, Vincent, and heard his cries for mercy. If ever I for- 
get to remember it, I think God would forget me. I saw many 
such sudden deaths, and plenty of remorse with them, but 
none as trying as his. It taught me a lesson : brought me to 
think, you know. Don't you fear for me, Vincent ; it^ will be 
all right, I hope : and if I could ever be so foolhardy as to 
look at a step on the backward way, Annabel would never let 
me take it." 

Roland had spoken in characteristic forgetfulness that the 
case, as to its sudden striking down, bore so striking a resem- 
blance to the one before him. Sir Vincent recalled it to him. 

" Yes. Just as it is with me, Roland." 

** Oh — but — you've got time yet, you know, Dick," he said, 




ROLAND IN MOURNING. 439 

a little confused. " A parson, who was knocking about, over 
there, in a threadbare coat, came in and saw Bartle, and talked 
to him about the thief on the cross. Bartle couldn't see it ; his 
fears didn't let him ; yoti may." 

" Yes, yes," replied Sir Vincent, with a half-smile, but Roland 
thought it looked like a peaceful one. " I have had a parson 
with me also, Roland." 

Roland's face lighted up with a sort of reverence. Sir 
Vincent put out his hand and stroked the dog. 

" You'll be kind to him, Roland ? " 

" Oh, won't I, Dick ! What's his name ? " 

"Spot." 

" Here ! Spot, Spot ! " 

" Go, Spot. Go to your future master." 

" Come, then, old fellow. Spot ! Spot ! " 

At the call, the dog made a sudden leap to Roland's side, 
and rubbed his nose against the extended hand. 

" I'll be as good to him as if he were a child," spoke 
Roland, in his earnestness. " See ! we are friends already, 
Vincent." 

And this simple-hearted young fellow was the scapegoat 
they had all despised ! Sir Vincent caught the strong hand and 
clasped it within his delicate one. 



CHAPTER XVHI. 

ROLAND IN MOURNING. 



Early in the afternoon and the Waterloo Railway Station. A 
gentleman got out of a first-class carriage, and made his way to 
a hansom. 

"Stop at the first hatter's you come to," he said to the 
driver. 

Leaping out when his directions were obeyed, he entered 
the shop and asked for a band to be put on his hat ; a " deep 
one." You do not need to be told who it was, and what the 
band was for. Vincent had died about eight o'clock in the 
morning, and the Natal traveller was Sir Roland Yorke. 



440 ROLAND YORKE. 

Excepting for the fact that he had some money in his 
pockets, which afforded a certain ease to the mind, he was 
anything but elated at the change of position. On the con- 
trary, he felt very much subdued. Roland could not be selfish, 
and the grief and shock brought him by the unexpected death 
of his cousin Vincent outweighed every thought of self He 
had already tasted some of the fruits of future power. Servants 
and others had referred to him that morning as the new baronet 
and their master ; his pleasure had beeen consulted in current 
matters touching the house and estate, his orders been re- 
quested as to the funeral. Roland was head of all now, sole 
master. Setting aside the sadness that filled his heart to the 
exclusion of all else, the very suddenness of the change would 
prevent him from realizing it at present. 

With the band on his hat, Roland entered the cab again, and 
ordered it to the office. There he presented himself to Mr. 
Greatorex. 

"Well?" said the lawyer, turning from his desk. "So you 
are back again ! What did Sir Vincent want with you ? Has 
he made you his bailiff?" 

Roland sadly shook his head. And Mr. Greatorex saw that 
something was wrong. 

" What's the matter?" he hastily inquired. 

" If you please, sir, I am Sir Roland now." 

" You are what ? " exclaimed Mr. Greatorex. 

"It's only too true," groaned Roland. "Poor Vincent is 
dead. Mr. Greatorex, I'd work on all fours for a living to the 
end of my days if it could bring him to life again. I never 
thought to succeed, I'm sure ; and I wouldn't willingly do so. 
He died at eight o'clock this morning." 

Mr. Greatorex leaned back in his chair and relieved his 
mind by a pastime he might have caught from Roland — that 
of staring. Not having heard of Sir Vincent's accident, this 
assertion of his death sounded only the more surprising. Was 
Roland telling the truth ? He almost questioned it. Roland, 
perceiving the doubt, gave a summary of particulars, and Mr. 
Greatorex slowly realized the facts. 

Sir Roland Yorke ! The light-headed, simple-minded clerk, 
who had been living on a pound a week and working suffi- 
ciently hard to get it, suddenly transformed into a baronet ! 
It was like a romance in a child's fairy tale. Mr. Greatorex 
rose and held out his hand. 



ROLAND IN MOURNING. 441 

" I must congratulate you on your succession, Sir Roland, 
sad though the events are that have led to it." 

" Now don't ! please don't ! " interrupted Roland. " I hope 
no one will do that, sir ; it sounds. like a wrong on poor Dick. 
Oh, I'd bring him to life again if I were able." 

" I trust you will make us your men of business, Sir Roland," 
resumed Mn Greatorex, still standing. " We have been solici- 
tors to the head of the Yorke family in succession for many 
years now." 

" I'm sure if you'll be at the trouble of acting for me, I 
should like nothing better, sir : bad manners to me if I could 
have any other thought ! And I've put your name and Mr. 
Bede's down in the list for the funeral, if you'll attend it. 
There will be only a few of us in all. Gerald (though I 
shouldn't think he will show his face at it), William Yorke, 
Arthur Channing, two or three of Dick's friends, and you and 
Mr. Bede. Poor Dick said to me when dying not to have the 
same sort of show he had at his father's funeral ; he saw the 
folly of it now, and would like the quietest I could order. I 
think he has gone to heaven, Mr. Greatorex." 

But that the subject was a solemn one, Mr. Greatorex had 
certainly laughed at the quaint simplicity of the concluding 
sentence. One reminiscence in connection with the past 
funeral rose forcibly in his mind — of the slight shown to the 
young man now before him. He, the heir-presumptive, only 
that no one had the wit to think of it, was not deemed good 
enough to follow his uncle to the grave. But he stood in his 
place now. 

Bede would not be able to attend the ceremony, Mr. Greato- 
rex said aloud : he was already in France, having crossed 
over with his wife by the last mail. 

"What is the matter with him?" asked Roland. "He 
looked as ill as he could look yesterday." 

" I don't know what the matter is," said Mr. Greatorex. 
" He has an inward complaint, and I fear it must be making 
great strides. His name will be taken out of the firm to- 
morrow, and give place to Frank's. It was Bede's own 
request. It is as if he fears he may never be capable of 
business again." 

" I'm sure I hope he will," cried Roland, in his sympathy. 
"About me, Mr. Greatorex? Of course I shouldn't like to 
leave you at a pinch; I'll come to the office to-morrow morning 



442 ROLAND YORKE, 

and do my work as usual for a day or two, until you've found 
some one to replace me. I should like to take this afternoon 
for myself." 

But Mr. Greatorex, with a smile, thought they should not 
need to trouble Sir Roland : which was no doubt an agreeable 
intimation : and Roland really had a good deal to do in con- 
nection with his new position. 

" If I'm not forgetting ! " he exclaimed, just as he was taking 
his departure. " There's the money you lent me, sir, and I 
thank you for the loan of it." 

In taking the sovereign from his pocket, he pulled out 
several others. Mr. Greatorex jokingly remarked that he had 
apparently no longer any need to borrow. 

"It is from poor Dick's desk," sadly observed Roland. 
" He told me there was enough money in it to repay the pound 
to you and get my clothes out of pawn, and that it would be 
all my own when he died. Well, what do you think I found 
there when I opened it to-day ? — Nearly a hundred pounds in 
gold and bank notes ! " 

" But you have not all that about you, I hope ? " 

" Yes I have, sir ; it was safer to bring it up than to leave 
it. I shall pay it into the banker's. I must show myself 
there, I suppose, and leave my signature in their books ; it 
won't be so neat a one as poor Dick's." 

Roland departed. Looking in for a moment at the office 
as he went out, he announced himself as Sir Roland Yorke, 
upon which Mr. Hurst burst into laughter in his face. He 
dashed in on Mrs. Jones with his news, ate nearly the whole 
of a shilling Madeira cake that happened to be on the table, 
while he talked, and made a voluntary promise to that tart and 
disbelieving matron to refurnish her house from top to bottom. 
Then the cab was ordered to the banker's, where his business 
was satisfactorily adjusted. Gerald's chambers were not far 
off, and Roland took them next. The servant met him with 
the bold assertion that his master was out. 

" Don't bother yourself to deny him, my good man ; I saw 
his face at the window," said Roland, frankly. "You may 
safely show me in : I am not a creditor." 

"Well, sir, we are obliged to be excessively cautious, just 
now, and that's the truth," apologized the man, confidentially. 
" Mr. Yorke, I think ? " 

" Sir Roland Yorke," corrected Roland. 



ROLAND IN MOURNING. 443 

^' SirV^ returned the man, looking at him as if he thought 
he saw a lunatic. 

"Sir Roland Yorke," was the emphatic repetition. "Have 
the goodness to announce me." 

And the servant opened the room door and so announced 
him. 

As Roland saw Gerald's quick look of surprise, he would, 
under other circumstances, have shaken in his shoes at the fun. 
But sadness wholly reigned over him to-day. And — if truth 
must be told — a terrible aversion to Gerald for his work and 
its fruits held possession of the new heir. 

"Oh, it's you," cried Gerald, roughly. "What on earth 
possessed the fellow ? " 

" The fellow did right, Gerald. I gave him my name, and 
he announced it." 

" Don't come here with your fool's blabber. He said ' Sir 
Roland Yorke.' " 

"And it is what I am." 

Gerald's face grew dark with passion. He had an especial 
dislike to being played with. 

" Vincent's dead, Gerald." 

" It is a he." 

"Vincent died this morning at eight o'clock," repeated 
Roland. " I was with him : he telegraphed for me yesterday. 
Look at this band" — showing his hat — "I've just been to get 
it put on. Do you think I'd have the face to invent a jest on 
this subject ? Vincent Yorke is dead, poor fellow, and I have 
come into things as Sir Roland. Not that I can fully believe 
it myself yet." 

The tone of the voice, the deep black band, and a subtle 
inward instinct brought conviction of the truth home to Gerald 
Yorke. Had it been to save his fame, he could not have 
helped the forsaking brazen tone of his voice, or the dread that 
took possession of his whole being. 

" What— has— he— died— of ? " 

"The gunshot wound." 

A pause. Gerald broke it. 

" It was going on well. I heard so only two days ago." 

" But it took a sudden turn for the worse ; and he is dead." 

Gerald's face assumed a livid tinge. Was he to have two 
lives on his soul ? Hamish Channing's had surely been enough 
for him without Vincent Yorke's. Pushing back his damp 



444 ROLAND YORKE. 

hair, he met Roland's steady look, and so made believe to feel 
nothing, went to the fire, and stirred it gently. 

"Why did the doctors let it take this turn?" he asked, 
flinging down the poker. " It was as simple a wound as ever 
was given." 

" I suppose they'd have helped it if they could." 

Another pause. 

" "Well — of course — as you have succeeded, I must con- 
gratulate you," said Gerald, stiffly and lamely. Absently, too, 
for he was buried in thought, reflecting on what an idiotic 
policy his, to Roland, had been. But this contingency had 
never occurred to him more than it had to Roland. i 

" Vincent had a good deal of property that was not entailed," 
resumed Gerald. " Do you know how'he has willed it ? Did 
he make a will?" 

" He made a will yesterday, before telegraphing for me." 

Gerald lifted his face with a transient hope. 

" I wonder if he has remembered me ? " 

" I think not. Except some legacies to the servants, and a 
keepsake for Miss Trehern — his watch and diamond ring, I 
fancy — he said no one's name was mentioned in the will but 
mine. It has not been opened : I thought I'd leave it until 
after the funeral. I am executor." 

" You ! — You don't want his rea